Museum on the Go outreach to young Syrian refugees

Syrian refugee outreach

“It was truly the best programming that we’ve done so far”, Émilie of the Museum on the Go team beams as she starts to tell me about the team’s outreach to a special group of children in need: Syrian refugees arriving in Ottawa.

Her team reached out early in 2016 to offer hands-on, minds-on activities to newly arrived Syrian children in Ottawa. The team visited five locations in March, and recently returned to the Catholic Centre for Immigrants-Ottawa, Sophia Reception House for a visit with a new group in late August.

Many of the children had moved in just the weekend before the visit. Émilie says that after “such a big move” full of many obstacles, it was wonderful to see the children light up when they “just had the chance to play.”

Émilie describes how many of the children were so excited to have the team visit that they “would run to the door to come help us carry our bins and our materials.” It’s that kind of enthusiasm that she describes again and again in the children’s reactions.

From water rockets in the park to gyroscopic wheel demonstrations in conference rooms, Museum on the Go brought fun activities that delighted the young newcomers. Émilie smiles as she tells me that the children were “in awe” of the activities, and that they asked the team to repeat activities like the dominos again and again. The team, knowing that the children’s toys likely didn’t make the journey, also brought along Museum loot bags – with a slinky, stickers, and more – so that the children would have something to play with after the visit.

These visits were made possible by donors to the Foundation’s Youth Fund. This fund supports the costs of transportation and programming so that that underserved children can enjoy all that the Museums have to offer.

The Museum on the Go team certainly felt the impact of the outreach in the children’s words. As Émilie describes, one of the children ran up to her at the end of a session and told her “I love you, I love Canada.” It was a memory Emilie says she will carry with her, and one of the moments we are proud to support as we help new Canadians discover the Museum and the power of play.