There are an unusually high number of individuals, many of whom are Syrian refugees, in the AltaVista/Riverview Park areas who are urgently seeking help in learning English.

English Language Tutoring in the Ottawa Community (ELTOC) is a small non-profit that provides free, one-on-one in home language instruction to newcomers unable to attend regular ESL classes. The current waiting list stands at 25 and there are not enough tutors to meet the demand. Individuals needing tutoring at home have a range of needs which make it problematic to attend classes. These may include caregiver responsibility, health issues, work schedules etc. Their prospects are of course hugely disadvantaged without capacity on one of our official languages.

Can you help? Could you spare approximately 2-3 hours per week? If yes, please visit the website at https://eltoc.ca/apply-to-volunteer. If you have any questions, please contact Liza at ELTOC directly by e-mail at admin@eltoc.ca or by phone at 613-232-8566. ESL experience and expertise would be great but are not required. ELTOC provides orientation, training, materials and ongoing support for all volunteers. Individuals with ESL experience attend two 2-hour sessions-one to orient volunteers to ELTOC and to home tutoring and a second one to review prepared materials. Individuals with no ESL experience attend a full one day orientation session with the opportunity to review prepared materials. ELTOC staff are also available to assist volunteers throughout their tutoring experience. The orientation sessions and tutoring are scheduled to begin in March.

Your help would be so appreciated. If you cannot help personally, perhaps others in your network may. Please do spread the word.

The latest edition of the Riverview Park Review shows our It Takes a Community Refugee Action Group thermometer over the top of our fund raising goal (see page 20). We are very grateful to the community, the RPCA, the Hunt Club Community Organization, Emmanuel United Church and our own networks for their support in helping us sponsor the seven member Atieh family from Syria and currently in Lebanon. Our application is still in process and we are doing all we can to expedite its approval. As soon as it is approved, your help will be needed in many ways to assist with their successful resettlement. In the interim, this is a grand opportunity to assist right now.

You can also contact Lynne Bezanson at mlynneb@magma.ca for any additional information on getting involved with the ITC initiative, making a donation and helping the family through the long and difficult winter months wait and/or volunteering with resettlement when the family finally arrives.