SHELBURNE – About a hundred people attended a reception at Shelburne Regional High School welcoming two new Syrian families to town.
The March 10 reception was organized by the Shelburne Area Refugee Sponsorship Committee and the Shelburne and Queens County Catholic Churches, the groups responsible for bringing the families to Shelburne.
An Arabic translator was on hand to interpret for the families, who are currently receiving English instruction.
Reverend Joanne McFadden, chairperson of Shelburne Area Refugee Sponsorship, introduced the crowd to the Hendawis, a family of seven including a daughter attending Grade 3 at Hillcrest Academy and three teenaged sons at Shelburne Regional High School (SRHS). Pat Van Buskirk, chairperson of the Shelburne and Queens County Catholic Churches, introduced the Almanjars, a family of four with two young children.
Shelburne Mayor Karen Mattatal, municipal Warden Roger Taylor and Lockeport town councillor Joann Swimm officially welcomed the families to the community and presented each family with the flags of Canada and Nova Scotia.
Members of the Shelburne Fire Department and RCMP were there for the families to meet as well.
The evening included entertainment by local musicians and people were encouraged to mingle, enjoy the variety of foods and introduce themselves to the families.
Alaa Almanjar said he was very happy to be there, and through his interpreter wanted to thank those who came out to the reception. “Thank you to everyone in Shelburne,” he said.
The Hendawi sons – Said, Mohamad and Ahmad – also wanted to thank the teachers, fellow students and everyone else who has helped them adjust to their new school. For the boys, the transition has been exciting and overwhelming. The first days at their new school have been made easier with the help of Egyptian-born SRHS exchange student Fady Sherif, who has been been acting as an interpreter for the teens.
Those who attended the reception were told
the Hendawis and Almanjars families are looking for opportunites to meet people, get involved in the community and practice their English language skills.
To find out how you can get help welcome the new families call 902-875-2943 or visit Shelburne Area Refugee Sponsorship/875.SHARES on Facebook.