Regina Open Door Society (RODS)

19 Sep Regina Open Door Society (RODS)

By: Darcy Dietrich, Executive Director, Regina Open Door Society (RODS)

The Regina Open Door Society (RODS) is a non-profit charitable immigrant service organization incorporated in 1976, by forward thinking community members who recognized the local need for settlement and adaptation services for refugees and immigrants.

RODS has been acknowledged locally and nationally as an innovator of both settlement and integration programs and services, introducing Canada’s first Reception House for Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) and awarded the Citation for Citizenship. RODS provides diverse specialized programs and services to all newcomers seeking settlement assistance in Regina and area. The organization and its culturally diverse staff of 190+ professionals bring tremendous experience, resources and expertise to the delivery of newcomer settlement services in the community. RODS vision is ‘A Welcoming Community Enriched by the Diversity & Strength of Newcomers to Canada’. We believe that diverse partnerships across all community sectors is key to offering a welcoming, informed and culturally aware environment that encourages the successful adaptation and integration of all newcomers.

RODS participants getting into a festive baking session.
RODS participants getting into a festive baking session.
RODS participants work together to make chocolate peppermint bars.
RODS participants work together to make chocolate peppermint bars.

Over the past 7 to 8 years, RODS has expanded from one main facility to four facilities located in downtown Regina, in order to meet the growing program and service needs of newcomers.

There are increasing numbers of Government-Assisted Refugees (GARs) and thousands of other immigrants settling in Regina, through federal programs and the Saskatchewan Immigrant Nominee Program (SINP). The core client group of RODS consists of GARs, resettled in Canada through the coordinated efforts of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada (IRCC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Canadian immigrant settlement sector and the efforts of sponsoring groups and families.

Over 25 programs and services are currently offered, including the following: Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), Orientation Services for Newcomers (OSN), Welcoming Community for Newcomers (WCN), Community Connections (CC), Settlement Support Workers In Schools (SSWIS), Settlement Workers In Schools Saskatchewan (SWISSASK), Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC), Stage 1 and 2 English, Employment Readiness Services, Advanced Language Training (ALT), Settlement Online Pre-Arrival Services (SOPA), Newcomer Youth Services, Summer Programs for Children and Youth, provincially licenced Child Care Centre, KidsFirst Regina – an intensive home visiting program for vulnerable families, Families In Transition (FIT) – a professional counselling program, Newcomer Welcome Centre – Assessment, Information and Referral Centre, Translation and Interpretation Program (TIP) and the Regina Region Local Immigration Partnership (RRLIP).

Significant change in our clientele occurred this year, as we settled three times as many Government Assisted Refugees (GARs) through the Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP), due to the nation-wide Syrian Refugee Initiative, plus the arrival of our usual number of GARs. Considering the significantly higher number of refugee clients who arrived within a very short timeframe, everything ran quite smoothly. This was due to the hard work of RODS staff and volunteers and the pre-arrival planning with our community partners in Airport Reception, Education, Healthcare, Temporary Accommodation, Permanent Housing, Donations and other areas. Offers to volunteer and donate, in order to help with refugee resettlement, were unprecedented.  RODS and the community of Regina welcomed and settled 616 GARs between April 1, 2015 and March 31, 2016. 477 were Syrian refugees and the remaining 139 refugees represented 11 other countries.

RODS is pleased to continue working closely with COA and CIIP through the Planning for Canada initiative.  It is to the benefit of our future clients, that we work together to provide the best array of information and opportunities possible, to refugees and immigrants preparing to settle in the province of Saskatchewan.  Together we can be certain that newcomers are equipped with the knowledge and skills necessary to settle smoothly and successfully into the Saskatchewan community and labour market.

To learn more about RODS, please visit our website: http://rods.sk.ca/

 

Darcy Dietrich

Executive Director

Regina Open Door Society (RODS)

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