Webinar organized by AFSS " Supporting Armenian Syrian refugees: Unique needs and challenges"  


AFSS Press Office 

Published November 2017 


Please click on the link below to watch Webinar by AFSS  " Supporting Armenian Syrian refugees: Unique needs and challenges" . 


Thank you to our presenters, Jeanette Gevikoglu, BA, LLM, board member, and Maida Icliates, BSc, founder, Armenian Family Support Services.

https://porticonetwork.ca/web/rmhp/webinars/past-webinars/populations/gevikoglu-icliates

Copyright 2016. Armenian Family Support Services. All Rights Reserved.

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Newcomers’ Luncheon Organized by Armenian Family Support Services

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AFSS Press Office
Published June 23 2016


On Sunday, May 15, 2016, following Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, a luncheon and talent show was organized at the “Magaros Artinian” hall by the Armenian Family Support Services (AFSS) to welcome Syrian-Armenian newcomers. About 300 people attended this one-of-a-kind event and enjoyed the warm atmosphere with friends, great food and performances. Rev. Archpriest Father Zareh Zargarian, Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Armenian Church (HTAC), delivered his warm welcoming message to the Syrian-Armenian newcomers, and expressed his well wishes to them. He appreciated the organizers' efforts and devotion and praised the AFSS board members for their ongoing efforts. Many of the HTAC Parish Council members were present at this lovely gathering. Maida Icliates, Founder of AFSS, introduced Toronto City Hall Councillor, the Honourable Jim Karygiannis, who thanked the AFSS Board and volunteers for their many years of dedication and service to the Toronto Armenian community. 




 

 


 

 


 

 



 

Latest News

Thanksgiving Luncheon


AFSS Press Office

Published October 26 2016


Sunday, October 9, 2016, was a memorable day for Armenian Family Support Services and more than 200 Syrian/Iraqi Armenian newcomers.The excitement in the air and the flashing cameras made it seem like a Film Festival with everyone in the Organizing Committee as well as our Board members performing flawlessly on the red carpet. It gave us a feeling of extreme satisfaction to know that we had record-breaking attendance by senior government officials including: John Tory, Toronto Mayor, Mitzie Hunter, Minister of Education, Zubair Patel, Senior Special Assistant, Office of the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, Salma Zahid, MP for Scarborough Centre, John McKay, MP for Scarborough – Guildwood, Arnold Chan, MP for Scarborough- Agincourt, provided us with his greeting letter, Raymond Cho, MPP for Scarborough-Rouge River, provided a letter of greetings. AFSS’s first celebration of Thanksgiving with the newcomers also became a fascinating topic for national and international media including, CTVNews, City TV, CBC, Global, Hye Horizon and Television Nationale de Suisse, all came to cover this unique event.The Thanksgiving Luncheon was held at the Holy Trinity Armenian Church. Rita Odjaghian, Chair of AFSS was the Master of Ceremonies. She addressed the guests in English, French and Armenian and talked about the meaning of the Canadian Thanksgiving Holiday. This was a great opportunity for our newcomers to express their gratitude to our beautiful country of Canada which opened its arms and allowed them to leave their hardships behind and begin their new lives with dignity, peace and hope. His Worship Mayor John Tory greeted our newcomers in Arabic and called them “Superstars.” He shared his insightful message with the audience. Every one of the dignitaries then came up on stage to deliver their heartfelt message. Annie Demirjian, AFSS Board Member, talked about our strategy and the quality of our services. Then Houry Aznavourian, member of the HTAC Parish Council, read a letter of greetings from Reverend Archpriest Father Zareh Zargarian who was in Armenia. Next, Father Datev blessed the food and everyone enjoyed a great traditional turkey meal.

As a grand finale one of our newcomers, a Syrian Armenian singer Mher Minassian, sang a few songs and all of us danced in a show of happiness and positive thinking. The event ended with smiles, happiness and joy. As they made their way to the buses that AFSS had arranged for them, the newcomers were full of praise about the Canadian Thanksgiving Luncheon. It is important to note that this event as well as all AFSS programs and services are funded solely by private donations and the direction of a volunteer Board of Directors. In order to continue this mission and promote growth we need financial fuel. Donations can be made via: GoFundMe Via PayPal




Friday, April 1st, 2016 was April fool’s day and it seemed the trick was on us as we were making adjustments for our first event down to the last minute. With the tremendous amount of excitement from our Armenian Syrian refugees, more and more people registered and our organizing team kept changing the logistics arrangements. What was thought to be 40 attendees ended up being 120!!

In the last few months we have experienced a large influx of Syrian Armenian Refugees registering with the AFSS. We have been helping our newcomers in providing them with full settlement services such as job placements, referrals to employers, resume writing, housing assistance and so much more. Through talking to our newly arrived Syrian Armenian Refugees, it was apparent that they needed a space to talk freely, express their frustrations, their wins, and their challenges of living in a new and totally different country.

Armenian Family Support Services has experience welcoming newcomers and we are aware and equipped to provide assistance for all the stages of settlement in Canada. In order to address the emotional and mental need of the Syrian Armenian newcomers, we launched the “Community Support Circle” on April 1, 2016.   

What is the program all about?

  • To provide Syrian Armenian newcomers with a safe space where they can openly speak about their challenges and experiences associated with resettlement.
  • To provide Syrian Armenians newcomers with an opportunity to share the depths of their circumstances with others who are going through similar challenges.
  • To prevent isolation and alienation.
  • To reduce their anxiety, improve self-confidence and empower them with tools and resources.
  • To empower and guide fellow Armenians as they work to solve problems individually and collaboratively with other members of the support group.


In order to ensure that families were able to attend, we provided free child care services. There were over 20 children enjoying games and other activities. Children and parents were happy for this service. 

To facilitate the logistics of transportation our team had arranged couple of school buses to pick up our participants from two key spots in North York and Scarborough.

Once all Newcomers arrived, the Maral Ishkanian hall was full and we were adding chairs to accommodate more people coming.

Maida Icliates, Maryam Aramyan and Houry Aznavourian, program developers and organizers, facilitated the group circle. Also welcoming the newcomers were Father Zareh Zargarian, Pastor of the Holy Trinity Armenian Church and Rita Odjaghian, Chair of the AFSS who both addressed the newcomers.  Everyone introduced themselves, sharing their experiences as newcomers to Canada. Maida facilitated the conversation and the newcomers began to share their problems and concerns experienced so far. After some group work, it was very clear that the primary challenge for most newcomers was finding work.

The conversation shaped into key messages from Haig Thomasian about Canadian Job Market and what behaviours are needed to succeed. Mr. Joseph Yeremian also provided insight about the professional job market.

We were able to witness that these conversations sparkled trust in the eyes of our newcomers and they felt being with a supportive family where their concerns were being heard.

Following the session, a light dinner of Lachmajoon, (Armenian pizza), veggies, dessert and coffee was served. The newcomers were also treated to a show by the HTAC Sassoun Dance Ensemble.

As we visited the tables, it was apparent that newcomers are eager to learn all the settlement processes in Canada. Everything is new to them and at times, they seem to have incorrect information. Therefore, it is imperative to create a supportive environment for them so that on one hand they feel they are not alone and know there are other families in the same condition. Furthermore, they need to feel that there is a team from Armenian Family Support Services and Holy Trinity Armenian Church who are available to assist when they need information and coaching.

The event ended with Father Zareh Zargarian and the newcomers lighting candles in the church sanctuary and participating in a special prayer for peace.

This was our first AFSS Community Support Circle and we plan to continue providing these circles on a bi-weekly basis. The next group circle will focus on Employment such as writing a resume, cover letter, networking, job sites and much more.

Special thanks to the program organizers Maida Icliates, Mariam Aramyan, Houry Aznavourian and all the volunteers who made this first group circle a success.

Sincerely,

AFSS Refugee and Sponsorship Committee


 



AFSS Press Office

Published June 17 2016
​​

We express our sincere gratitude to Mrs. Janet and Mr.  Joseph Yeremian for their most generous support and donation to the Refugee Sponsorship and Settlement Program of the Armenian Family Support Services.  

Mrs. Janet Yeremian, an AFSS Board Member was celebrating her birthday and her husband and family planned a wonderful surprise party. In lieu of gifts, Mr. Yeremian requested guests to donate to the Armenian Family Support Services. 

Mrs. Rita Odjaghian, Chair of AFSS, was invited to speak to guests and share the humanitarian work going on behind the scenes in helping Syrian-Armenian refugees to a better life in Canada.
The proceeds of the gifts will be going towards the bi-weekly ‘Community Support Circle. ’  This gathering provides the Syrian- Armenian newcomers to get together , listen to guest speakers from the community and learn about various aspects of Canadian life, such as the Public Library, Public Health, Job Search, resume writing, housing, mental health and much more.
Thank you to Yeremian family for raising $2,000 that enables us to drive our mission. The Armenian Family Support Services is funded completely by private donations. Donations such as these provide us financial fuel to continue to drive our humanitarian mission.


Thank you again and Happy Birthday to Mrs. Janet Yeremian.


 

​​​​​​​Armenian Family Support Services (AFSS) recipient of generous donation in lieu of gifts

 

Newcomers’ Luncheon Organized by 
Armenian Family Support Services

AFSS Press Office
Published June 23 2016


On Sunday, May 15, 2016, following Divine Liturgy at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, a luncheon and talent show was organized at the “Magaros Artinian” hall by the Armenian Family Support Services (AFSS) to welcome Syrian-Armenian newcomers. About 300 people attended this one-of-a-kind event and enjoyed the warm atmosphere with friends, great food and performances. Rev. Archpriest Father Zareh Zargarian, Parish Priest of Holy Trinity Armenian Church (HTAC), delivered his warm welcoming message to the Syrian-Armenian newcomers, and expressed his well wishes to them. He appreciated the organizers' efforts and devotion and praised the AFSS board members for their ongoing efforts. Many of the HTAC Parish Council members were present at this lovely gathering. Maida Icliates, Founder of AFSS, introduced Toronto City Hall Councillor, the Honourable Jim Karygiannis, who thanked the AFSS Board and volunteers for their many years of dedication and service to the Toronto Armenian community. 



Toronto Public Library and Toronto Newcomer Centre visit the AFSS Community Support Circle for Syrian-Armenian newcomers.


AFSS Press Office

Published May 15, 2016

Holy Trinity Armenian Church ​​


Another successful event!! Out third “Community Support Circle’ for Syrian Armenian newcomers was a big hit. We thank the Toronto Public Library and Toronto Newcomer Centre for their presentation about services for newcomers. 

Following the presentation, everyone got to sign up for their very own library card and free passes to city events such as Toronto Zoo, ROM, AGO and other places to choose from. We also had sign up for free cell phone with two year data plan. These are great incentives for our newcomers and help them integrate into Toronto life that much easier.


​Following the registrations, everyone enjoyed the delicious food and dessert, especially the traditional Armenian lachmajoon prepared by the AFSS volunteers.Please join us at our next event, the Newcomer Luncheon for Syrian Armenian newcomers on Sunday, May 15, 2016 at 1:00 pm. The afternoon will be a fun get together filled with food, musical entertainment by our very own Syrian newcomers sharing their artistic talents with the community. 



Armenian Family Support Services Initiates 'Community Support Circle' for Syrian Armenian Refugees 

He presented a Certificate of Appreciation from the City of Toronto. Rita Odjaghian, Chair of AFSS, welcomed everyone with a heartfelt speech.  She talked about the mission of AFSS, and how important it is to create a sense of love and affection in the hearts of all the newcomers through compassion, hard work and dedication. She thanked Janet Yeremian, the organizing committee members and all volunteers without whom the event would not have been possible.
Mr. Greg Sarkissian, President of the Zoryan Institute, addressed the newcomers and spoke about a new Oral History Project they are undertaking to document the stories of the new Syrian-Armenian refugees. He invited interested newcomers to join this project.
The MC of the day was the lovely Sarin Poladian, herself a newcomer. She opened the event by thanking AFSS for welcoming the Syrian- Armenians and allowing them to showcase their talents in this new land.. The event featured several performances by well-known artists such as Nazar Poladian, Hasmig Tachajian Bertizian, Mher Minassian, Anahit Koutsouzian, Anna-Maria and Mike Muyabed. Several paintings by the  well-known artist Razmig Bertizian were on prominent display.


The “Sassoun Dance Ensemble” of Holy Trinity Armenian Church performed lively Armenian dances, bringing even more joy to the gathering. A delicious lunch was served, followed by homemade desserts. As the two “Welcome to Canada” cakes with Canadian flag designs were brought into the hall, everyone stood up and sang the national anthems of Canada and Armenia. At the end of the luncheon, the joy and happiness were palpable in the air.  AFSS Board members received many testimonials of gratitude from the attendants. Many said they felt they were treated like family, felt at home and appreciated.
For over 12 years AFSS has provided various humanitarian services to our existing and new community members. Two years ago, AFSS was granted the Sponsorship Agreement Holder privilege. Since then we have sponsored over 300 Syrian-Armenian refugees. Our services begin at the point of landing and continue throughout the settlement and integration into this beautiful country. AFSS greets refugees along with their sponsors at the airport. Services include assistance with housing and furnishings, schooling for children, employment counseling and placement, support circles, referrals and more. This truly manifests an end-to-end settlement process for our new Canadians.

Հաջողության պատմություն!
2017 թ. Մարտի 7-ին Տորոնտոյի հումանիտար նկարիչների կողմից կազմակերպված «REFLECT» միջոցառման ժամանակ հայ ընտանիքի աջակցության ծառայությունները պատիվ են ունեցել Ջորջ Բաբլանյանի ոսկերչական շոուի հատուկ հյուր: Սա մեծ իրադարձություն էր քաղաքի կենտրոնում, հայտնի Տորոնտոյի նորաձեւության ակումբում, քոլեջի փողոցում հայտնի սեւ ակումբում: Այն գտնվում է երկու հարկանի շենքում, որը ստեղծվել եւ ցուցադրվել է երիտասարդ արվեստագետների կողմից:
Շոուի արվեստի գործերը ներառում էին ավանգարդային դեմքի դիմահարդարում, մարմնի նկարչություն, հաճելի նորաձեւություն եւ առասպելական զարդեր:
Ջորջ Բաբլանյանը AFSS- ի երիտասարդ սիրիահայ երիտասարդներից մեկն է: Նա Տորոնտոյում եղել է երեք տարուց պակաս: Նա բարձրացել է ոսկերչական աշխարհում, որտեղ նա սովորել է բոլոր զարդերի երիտասարդ տարիքից: Տորոնտոյում նա ապահովել է դիրք զբաղեցրած ոսկերչական իրեր: Ջորջը աշխատելիս ստեղծեց իր ստեղծագործական եւ արվեստը եւ այժմ իր տաղանդը արտահայտում է ոսկերչական իր հավաքածուի ձեւավորման միջոցով: Ջորջը սկսել է իր «S-KEST» ընկերությունը, որը նշանակում է «կոստյում»:
ՀՊՏ-ի նկարիչների նորաձեւության ցուցահանդեսի բոլոր ոսկերչական իրերը մատակարարվել է S-KEST- ի կողմից: Ջորջն էլ իր տաղավարն ունեցել է տեղում:
Սա իսկապես հաջողության պատմություն է, եւ AFSS- ը հպարտ է, որ ականատեսն է այս նշանավոր ձեռներեցության նվաճմանը:Շնորհավորանքներ, Ջորջ: Լավ արեցիր !


Success  Story!

On March 7, 2017, Armenian Family Support Services had the honour to be a Special Guest at George Bablanian's Jewellery show at the “REFLECT” event organized by Raw Artists of Toronto.
This was a great event in the heart of downtown, at the famous Toronto Mod Club, a well-known dark club on College street. It is in a two story building bursting with all sorts of arts created and showcased by young artists. The artworks in the show included avant-garde face makeup, body painting, a fun fashion show and fabulous jewelry. George Bablanian is one of AFSS's young Syrian Armenian newcomers. He has been in Toronto for less than three years. He was raised in the jewellery world, where he learned all about jewellery from a young age. In Toronto he secured a position with a well-established jewellery outlet. While working, George developed his creativity and art and is now expressing his talent by designing his own collection of jewellery.
George has started his own company called S-KEST which means "Costume" in Armenian.
All the jewellery in the RAW Artists' Fashion Show was supplied by S-KEST. George also had his own booth in the venue. This is truly a great success story and AFSS is proud to be witnessing this remarkable entrepreneurial achievement. Congratulations, George. Well done!!!

Օգնութեան Ծառայութիւն

Հայ Ընտանիքի