Roots of Empathy supports communities that have recently welcomed refugees and asylum seekers by offering our programs in schools where there are children of refugee families. Our goal is to support the classrooms of refugee children to welcome and include them as they adjust to their new lives. Our program develops emotional literacy and self-regulation as well as resilience – all of which will help refugee children deal with the trauma they have experienced. And because our programs includes all children in a classroom, it will also help local children to know and appreciate their new classmates and to see with their own eyes their shared humanity.
With significant numbers of Syrian families arriving in Ontario, Roots of Empathy recognized the need to support school boards with a higher enrollment of children experiencing trauma from war. In 2017-18, 19 programs were delivered Roots of Empathy to classrooms with Syrian refugee children. These programs were located in six school boards in five cities – Toronto, Ottawa, Peterborough, Kingston and Waterloo.