We are enthusiastic! We are talented! We are resourceful! We are passionate! We are volunteers who are committed to sponsoring “our family”. Among us are professionals in the fields of education, finance, IT, legal and law-enforcement, art, medicine, and social work, and some of us have chosen to stay at home with our children.
We are people who get things done.
Gratitude is what has fuelled this project…and we are grateful to count you among our friends and supporters.
Here is a list of the members on our team:
Minh – Fearless Leader Extraordinaire
Jan Arden’s song, “Good Mother”, truly describes my relationship with my parents. They sheltered my brother and me from the bombs of the Vietnam war and then sacrificed everything so we would have a better future. They kept my life stable since the day I was born in the midst of a war, while we lived temporarily in a Hong Kong refugee camp, and finally into my wonderful life in Canada.
When I first heard of Lifeline Syria and their effort in June 2015, I was very inspired and thought how amazing it would be to come “full circle” by giving back to a Syrian family the same compassion and kindness that was generously given to me and my family by our sponsors in Sault Ste. Marie.
Now if Ms. Arden’s lyrics were changed slightly, it would truly reflect the relationship with my friends… I am blessed with so many special friends who love me! When I called out for support for this special cause, so many responded with positive support… those who could volunteered with great enthusiasm! I am so touched, honoured, and thankful to call all of these minHions my very dear friends!
… and her minHions …
Aaron: I am the #1 minHion. I am an honorary member and support my wife, Minh, in this special project.
Amy and Mike
Andrew and Anita: As the son of Vietnamese Boat People, I knew that I absolutely had to be involved with this project. Anita and I could not have been happier when Minh asked people to be part of this wonderful endeavor.
I am extremely grateful for everything I have here in Canada and cannot even begin to imagine the struggle that refugees endure to find a peaceful home. If it weren’t for sponsors helping my own family, I would not be where I am today and think that it’s our social responsibility to help those in need. That’s what makes Canada great and I hope our new Syrian family will someday be as proud as I am to call Canada home.
Anne Marie: I am so excited to be supporting this initiative. I’ve spent most of my career in the financial services sector focusing on risk management, including volunteering in the micro-credit sector. When Minh mentioned she was thinking of sponsoring a Syrian family I jumped at the opportunity to lend a helping hand. I’ve been very fortunate to have had the opportunity to travel to across the globe and feel very lucky to be born into a part of the world which has a stable political environment. It’s an honour to be part of such an amazing team!
Bernice: As part of Full Circle, I get to hang with beautiful people doing beautiful things. In the process, I am reminded of the beauty in my own life and the need to share that with those less fortunate.
Binh and Michael
Brigitte: “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’” ~ Fred Rogers. As a police officer/peacekeeper for 20 years, I always strive to be a helper and am so grateful to be part of a powerful group of likeminded people making wonderful things happen. Minh, our fearless leader is inspiring us all!
Cathy: Minh and I met in university eons ago and have been partners in crime ever since then. I’m very blessed to have never have had such a traumatic life experience as Minh or the Syrian family we are about to sponsor, although sometimes my husband and my children tell me that I traumatize them. But I digress. I’m honoured and excited to do this alongside dear old friends and some new ones too.
Cleo: I have known and worked with Minh on and off for over a decade. She has become a dear friend; always seeing and bringing out the best in people. I am very pleased to share this journey with her and commend her for the professionalism and dedication that she brings to every endeavor. As everyone now vested in this venture will say …… we are truly Friends helping Friends.
Collette: As a teacher, principal, and now consultant for the Ontario Principals’ Council, I have seen first-hand the continuum of the refugee experience, from struggle to inclusion. It is a privilege to contribute to the enrichment of Canada to stand as a beacon hope, embracing a new world order of peace, love, and true diversity – not just a “feel-good” aren’t we all lovely in our different colours, foods, and dances’ superficial way, but each contributing truly universal values to the whole fabric.
Debbie: I came to Canada as an immigrant at the age of 8 with my family, leaving behind a country in political unrest. I’m very grateful to now have an opportunity to give back. Many thanks to Minh and to all the other team members. I hope you will join us in our efforts to help bring a family to safety.
Hirra: My name is Hirra and I am excited to help and be apart of the team. I come from an immigrant family and understand how it is to flee a war torn country and the challenges one faces when settling into a new country. I’m a first year Journalism student at Ryerson and I’m hoping I can do whatever I can in order to help those in need. I told myself before entering University that I will not get involved in anything unless its related to my Journalism program, just to give myself an easy start. But ever since my third week in University, I can’t help but get involved. There are so many opportunities to help and I want to take every chance I get to help anyone who needs it.
Jacqueline: My parents taught me to do the right thing. Now I’m the parent, and it’s my turn to exemplify what sharing really means, and to instil the virtues of empathy and caring into the hearts of my 4 little boys. I bask in the unwavering support of my husband, a former refugee whom I would have never met, had Canada not welcomed his family in 1972.
Jim and Jane: My wife Jane and I have known Minh ever since she was doing volunteer work at the government of Ontario. Minh walked out on me when I was on holidays, but I have never held this against her, and in fact we have kept in touch with Minh over the years. We were excited when she told us we had won a contest to help bring Syrian refugees to Canada. As with all families we have had our difficulties, but nothing compared to what is happening throughout the world, and we are very happy to be part of this great experience.
John: It is very satisfying to be part of a group that wishes to provide a family with a secure and safe home.
Lisa: I have been brought up to never take things for granted and I truly believe in the saying, ‘what comes around goes around’. I have been fortunate that so many good things have ‘come around’ for me so I must ‘go around’ and help wherever I can and when I can. I’ve been given the opportunity to be a part of this group of beautiful people with big beautiful hearts
Mary and Mark: Minh is an inspiration to everyone she meets. Her kindness and generosity is contagious. When she decided to sponsor a family, my husband and I jumped at the opportunity to be a part of this amazing group of friends. Both our families immigrated to Canada and we are forever grateful to call this beautiful place our home.
Rick and Reanne: Rick and Reanne both work in the financial industry (with Rick dabbling in the real estate field too) and am keen to give back and put in their efforts for a great cause. We both feel it is a great accomplishment to make a change in society, and are really happy to have Minh bring us together to have such a wonderful opportunity to contribute to this effort.
Scott: I joined with my wife (Anne Marie) and am excited to be part of this initiative. I work with a lot of new Canadians and understand the challenges with integrating into a new community. I’m looking forward to supporting the family and helping them understand Canadian culture. I’m very proud of Toronto and looking forward to showing off our amazing city.
Serena: I feel so lucky to be part of such an exciting opportunity to work with a great team of individuals in giving back. Along with my fellow Minhions, I can’t wait to meet our family and help them make this amazing place called Toronto their home.