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  • Sue Warren

It Takes a Village to get our Syrian Kids on the Ice!

If you are on this site you will know that the task of the Starfish Projects (1,2 and 3) does not end at the point at which the refugee family steps onto Canadian soil, no that is the proverbial tip of the iceberg. Our Syrian families have lives to build here in Canada and what could be more Canadian than ice hockey? Speaking as a Brit who still does not understand the national obsession with the sport I will say, nothing! The following is a peek behind the curtains of a truly Herculean village effort to help Mohammad, Joud and Shahad to learn to skate.


Stage 1 - Find skates (and clothes and furniture!) - who to turn to? None other than our lovely writer in residence, Laura Mulrooney and her army of Facebook friends. The following are posts from Laura's FB skating odyssey.


Dec 6 2020 - the call goes out from Laura...


"As promised here’s the list of needed items : Clothes can be gently used , I don’t want to sort through garbage bags of cast offs please. Girls ages 2, 10 small for their size Girls 12 and 14 wearing ladies ‘ small and medium. Boys aged: 4,6,7 and aged 17 ( men’s sm- medium) The girls love leggings and pretty hoodies and sweatshirts and sweatpants with fitted ankles and socks . ( I won’t steal the socks, I promise ) warm pyjamas are always great Hats ,mitts ,are always welcome . My son would lose a mitten a day . If it’s easier , pick up a gift card put a few bucks in an envelope. Grocery store , drug store , wal mart are all great ideas . This pandemic is hard for all of us , now imagine you are new to the country. Work is thin, winter is coming , home schooling is a nightmare for ALL of us. Give with your heart We are all in this together - that’s what we keep saying . Here’s our chance to make it so. Call me 902-275-8033 or leave on my porch at 12 Regent ."


“For it is in giving that we receive .” St Francis of Assisi


Dec 11 2020 - thank you but if you could...


"This is to say Shukran ( thank you ) to all of the kind people who filled my porch with clothing and toys and winter wear and cash money for our Syrian community members . Nateleen Zinck says I have friends with the biggest hearts and greatest taste in clothes . I just know that I know a whole lot of good people , and some I don’t really know at all. Merci , grazie, gracias . Your generosity will clothe thirteen people many of whom are growing children . And we know how fast kids can grow out of their clothes . One young man is striking out on his own , a mixed feeling for all parents . We’ve got him a bed , but we could use a nice kitchen or dining table and chairs if you’re downsizing. A blender is on his wish list and a smart TV so he doesn’t have to pay a hefty cable bill. Let me know if you can help out . We can arrange pick up . The new clothes you graciously gave will be given as gifts and Nataleen is the loveliest Santa ever ,making sure that everyone gets something . It’s been a heck of year , but the spirit is alive and well in our little hamlet and to all of you . Thank you again ."


“I don’t need anything more for Christmas than this right here. My family.” — Lou Lou Who. ( from The Grinch)


Dec 28 - one more ask...


"In what I promise to be my almost last ask of 2020 , I am looking for a pair of second hand ladies skates size 7 or 7.5 and no they’re not for me !

A sweet 12 year Syrian girl wanted nothing to do with skating until her sister got a pair . See ,siblings are the same all over the world.

I bet someone has a pair in the basement. Let me know . Thank you yet again ."


Jan. 5 2021 - on the ice!


Catherine Valentine says "And here is the picture from Day 28 where I am wearing something red every day. I answered Laura Mulrooney's call for friends to help teach some new skaters. I mostly was there for moral support, while the young man on the far right did most of the instruction. The three of them did very well at staying upright, Muhammed Cesim Alluş and his sisters were fearless and very determined. We were the last ones leaving the ice. It was a good time."


Feb. 15 - making progress:)


"Heritage Day seems like the perfect day for three Syrian teens who have been working hard on their skating skills in Chester to have an afternoon skate . Joined by volunteers, friends and supporters , the ‘kids’ have improved dramatically. A big thank you to Chester's Cafe and Deborah Winsor for sponsoring the ice time and making this possible ."

“There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about .” Margaret Wheatley






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