In 2016, Syrian families starting trickling into Muskoka as part of Canada’s generous acceptance of thousands of refugees during the crisis in Syria. Although many great groups of people sprang into action to receive and give support to these families, it became apparent that there was no formal ESL organization to assist these refugees with language training to support their integration into their new communities. When the YMCA was asked if some MNM monies could be directed to somehow supporting these refugees, they jumped at the chance.
Solely through MNM funds, the YMCA started offering ESL classes in Huntsville. The Syrian refugee crisis was the catalyst – but as you can see from the video – we are now reaching a more global audience!!
To date the YMCA has helped 42 ESL learners through Muskoka Novel Marathon funds. And this year, the YMCA is now starting to offer English classes to newcomers in Bracebridge as well!
Thank you to the dedicated MNM writers who diligently raise funds every year to help support this cause. You truly make a difference. Enjoy the video!
~ Nancy West | Team Leader, Literacy and Special Projects | YMCA of Simcoe/Muskoka