These Teens Found the Best Way to Welcome Refugees to Canada

Compass is non-profit organization helping refugees transition to their new lives.

Feb 3, 2016
Refugee welcome box

Compass' welcome boxes help refugees transition to their new home (vepar5 / Shutterstock.com)

Having homework is part of the reality of being a kid - but every once in awhile, a school project becomes something much, much more. Whether it’s an inspiring short film, a social experiment on beauty , or an empowerment plan for the homeless, sometimes what starts off as an average homework assignment grows into a powerful driver for positive change.

That’s what a group of Canadian teens set out to do when they decided to take their school project up a notch. As part of the Junior Achievement Program, the 35 high school students from Toronto were tasked with starting a business of any kind. The students acknowledged that a business should address a certain need, and with 10,000 Syrian refugees settling in Canada, no need seemed greater than welcoming the refugees to their new lives.

So, the teens started Compass, a non-profit organization that distributes welcome boxes to newly arrived refugees. The boxes are packed with a blanket, warm gloves, crayons, a stuffed animal, a welcome note, a coloring book, and the quintessential Canadian maple candies. The $20 packages are sponsored by individual supporters and Compass’ corporate sponsors, including Blackberry.

So far, the teens have begun to distribute the 250 welcome boxes they’ve packaged - but it doesn’t stop there. Compass also hopes to inspire social action among youth and organize workshops in partnership with Trinity Theatre to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis.

There’s no saying how far this school project will go to help others!

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Mirele writes about everything related to doing good, with a particular interest in volunteering and social entrepreneurship, informed by her background in eco tourism.