Between 2,500 and 3,000 Syrian refugees – having escaped the worst humanitarian crisis in the world – will arrive in the Lower Mainland over the next several months. Forty percent of these new arrivals will be children under 18. They will need our support as they adjust to life in Canada. United Way of the Lower Mainland is today launching an urgent community fundraising appeal – United for Refugees – to raise $500,000 to help these children and families settle here in our community. This appeal is critical to the success of the five-phase plan announced today by the Canadian Government. United Way of the Lower Mainland is one of three United Ways in North America, in addition to Ottawa and Miami, that United Way Worldwide has selected to help assist Syrian refugees. United Way of the Lower Mainland has a proven track record of helping immigrants and refugees settle in our community. In 2015, UWLM invested $2.5 million into programs and services for refugee and immigrant families in the Lower Mainland. We fund agencies that help refugees find a home, learn a new language and culture, and offer long-term support for things like education and employment. We also provide support for the most vulnerable refugees and immigrants – children – through the Early Years Refugee Program, which has supported refugee families with young children in Burnaby, Langley, Richmond, Surrey, Tri-Cities and Vancouver since 2007. United Way of the Lower Mainland contributes approximately $1 million annually to this initiative. United Way also supports after school programs directed specifically to young, new arrivals to our country. These include the Burnaby Family Life’s African children’s homework club, Friends of Simon Tutoring Program, Immigrant Services Society Reaching for Success program in the Tri-Cities, SHARE’s Schools and Families Together program in Coquitlam and Umoja’s after school program for immigrant and refugee children in Surrey. Read the full press release here. Help refugees of the Syrian crisis get the best start in their new lives here in our community. Give now. United. We are community.