We first heard about the Al Taha family in April 2021, in an April Break Online Camp I was running with the theme of Refugees. During this camp, the kids and I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda, who has helped to settle 150 Syrian families in the Ottawa/Gatineau area (you can watch the first clip from that interview here). The Al Taha family are originally from Syria, but had been living in Lebanon since 2016. Amanda told us that this family had two boys who were 12 and 10 – the same age as the kids in my camp – and she suggested that we send notes to them over WhatsApp. We were so excited about this idea and wrote some notes for her to send that day – the kind of notes that you would expect kids to send, asking the boys what their favourite colour was, their favourite food, asking what sport they liked to play. We received a response within hours (the world is so small). In their response, the boys told us how happy they were to hear from us on that particular day, as it was the two year anniversary of their father’s death – he had been electrocuted to death in front of them while he was trying to fix the wiring in their makeshift home. Our notes of love and friendship meant even more to them on that day. What a meaningful, impactful lesson for the kids in my camp about the power of kindness and the importance of letting people know they are loved and not alone.

Since our first beautiful interaction with these boys, we were patiently awaiting their arrival here – and the fantastic news is that they arrived on May 24th! But this does not mean that our work is done. We now need to help support them through this very important first year. We want to make sure that they have enough money to not only survive, but thrive. We want to build up a community of friends around them to help them settle here. We want them to feel welcomed and supported.

If you feel inspired to join us in this work, you can make a donation to our Go Fund Me campaign here.

No donation is too small, every little bit helps. The kids in my Upstanders Academy are so excited to see the donations climbing. Let’s show them how we can come together in community to lift each other up.