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Support for Syrian refugees in Canada is overwhelming, nonpartisan, and inspiring.

'You're safe at home now,' the Canadian prime minister tells Syrian refugees.

Support for Syrian refugees in Canada is overwhelming, nonpartisan, and inspiring.

Louisa Taylor, director of Refugee613 in Ottawa, Ontario, has an interesting problem.

Her organization is so inundated with donations and support for Syrian refugees that they're stretched to their absolute limits.

"Our phones are ringing off the hook, our inboxes are overflowing with offers of help," she told me. "[I have] more requests than I can meet."


Her organization is getting ready for the arrival of 25,000 Syrian refugees who will soon call Canada their home.

Part of that process, Taylor explained, is simply having to manage the incredible generosity of Canadians. "We are inundated with offers to volunteer, to donate clothing and furniture, to create new programs, and it all takes work to manage that."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greeting refugees in Toronto. Photo by Nathan Denette/Associated Press.

The refugee program, which is Canada's most ambitious since the Vietnam War, officially became a reality late Thursday night, Dec. 10, 2015, when a plane carrying 163 Syrians landed in Toronto.

The refugees were greeted personally by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. And he wasn't alone in embracing them.

All 163 refugees were given winter coats, and they were warmly welcomed by volunteers and a slew of politicians from across the political spectrum.

"It truly is a nonpartisan, national project," said John McCallum, Canada's Immigration Minister.

So nonpartisan, in fact, that among the people helping to welcome and process the refugees were members of the opposition party and notable Trudeau critics.

Trudeau was elected in a landslide victory earlier this year. Photo by Nicholas Kamm/Getty Images.

A second government plane arrived in Montreal just two days later, on Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, bringing an additional 161 refugees.

The program, or "programme" if you speak Canadian, also has overwhelming public support.

All of the refugees who arrived on the first flight were sponsored to come to Canada by small groups or individuals, who've raised over 28,000 Canadian dollars (just over $20,000) for each family.

One organization, "Yukon Cares," was able to raise $46,000 to sponsor a family, helping them with food, rent, clothing, and furniture. They did so in three months.

Syrian refugees arriving by boat in Turkey. Photo by Bulent Kilic/Getty Images.

It's hard not to be inspired by Canada's support and frustrated by the lack of it here at home.

Canada's program isn't perfect and, in fact, the overall timeline has been scaled back from bringing in 25,000 refugees before January, to 25,000 before March, but it's still leagues better than any resettlement plans here in the U.S.

America is due to take in 10,000 refugees over the next year, a significant increase from the 2,000 originally promised. Yet governors in 31 states have flatly refused to let in any refugees at all, citing what they believe to be a risk of Islamic terrorists entering the United States.

Anti-Muslim rhetoric in the United States isn't helping either. With everyone from politically charged uncles at Thanksgiving to prominent presidential candidates taking the time to bash Muslims for being Muslim, public support for Syrian refugees is dismally low.

Honestly, his sign isn't as offensive as that '90s puffy jacket. Photo by Jewel Samad/Getty Images.

Canada is showing the world that Syrian refugees aren't going to bite.

"There's a whole new generation of Canadians seeing the power that comes from unleashing compassion," said Louisa Taylor. "It's a beautiful sight."

The refugees are being welcomed personally by the Prime Minister and with open arms by the Canadian public. They're being taken to hotels and will soon be set up in homes sponsored by Canadian families and charitable organizations.

They've escaped an unimaginably terrifying circumstance and have entered a country that has the courage, fortitude, and generosity to hand them a coat and tell them they're safe now.

Or, as one refugee put it:

"We feel as if we got out of hell and we came to paradise."

And if Canada is anything like I hope it is, those refugees will soon be enjoying moose rides through the park and swimming in pristine lakes of maple syrup.

Not bad, Canada. Not bad.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
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This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

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This article originally appeared on 12.02.19


Just imagine being an 11-year-old boy who's been shuffled through the foster care system. No forever home. No forever family. No idea where you'll be living or who will take care of you in the near future.

Then, a loving couple takes you under their care and chooses to love you forever.

What could one be more thankful for?

That's why when a fifth grader at Deerfield Elementary School in Cedar Hills, Utah was asked by his substitute teacher what he's thankful for this Thanksgiving, he said finally being adopted by his two dads.

via OD Action / Twitter

To the child's shock, the teacher replied, "that's nothing to be thankful for," and then went on a rant in front of 30 students saying that "two men living together is a sin" and "homosexuality is wrong."

While the boy sat there embarrassed, three girls in the class stood up for him by walking out of the room to tell the principal. Shortly after, the substitute was then escorted out of the building.

While on her way out she scolded the boy, saying it was his fault she was removed.

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One of the boy's parents-to-be is Louis van Amstel, is a former dancer on ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." "It's absolutely ridiculous and horrible what she did," he told The Salt Lake Tribune. "We were livid. It's 2019 and this is a public school."

The boy told his parents-to-be he didn't speak up in the classroom because their final adoption hearing is December 19 and he didn't want to do anything that would interfere.

He had already been through two failed adoptions and didn't want it to happen again.

via Loren Javier / Flickr

A spokesperson for the Alpine School District didn't go into detail about the situation but praised the students who spoke out.

"Fellow students saw a need, and they were able to offer support," David Stephenson said. "It's awesome what happened as far as those girls coming forward."

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He also said that "appropriate action has been taken" with the substitute teacher.

"We are concerned about any reports of inappropriate behavior and take these matters very seriously," Kelly Services, the school the contracts out substitute teachers for the district, said in a statement. "We conduct business based on the highest standards of integrity, quality, and professional excellence. We're looking into this situation."

After the incident made the news, the soon-to-be adoptive parents' home was covered in paper hearts that said, "We love you" and "We support you."

Religion is supposed to make us better people.

But what have here is clearly a situation where a woman's judgement about what is good and right was clouded by bigoted dogma. She was more bothered by the idea of two men loving each other than the act of pure love they committed when choosing to adopt a child.