Community Support Circle - Employment Workshop

AFSS Press Office

Published April 23 2017

   11th Annual Christmas Children's Cheer 

On December 16th, AFSS hosted its 11th Annual Children's Christmas Cheer Campaign. This year's campaign was another great success and brought smiles to many children's faces. We would like to express our gratitude to the tireless efforts of our dedicated volunteers and to our generous donors. Special thanks to:

St. Sahag St. Mesrob Armenian Saturday School students and their families for donating new toys, clothes and other gifts to our Campaign year after year. Ms. Rita Bedirian has been instrumental in overseeing this wonderful tradition which teaches the students the value of giving.

CuBE Packaging Solutions Management and staff for making our event much bigger by giving gifts, gift cards and monetary donations. Ms. Ani Kokorian has been our AFSS ambassador and coordinated this beautiful mission.

Many children from our newcomer and refugee families were delighted to receive their gifts. These were personally delivered all across Toronto and as far as away as Elmira by our many volunteers. One mother thanked us with tears in her eyes when we went to deliver the gifts to her children. This was a special moment for their entire family.

Thank you to everyone who donated and helped in this year's Campaign.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!

12th Annual Soup Kitchen and Mental Health Event 

AFSS Press Office

Published January 29, 2017

On Sunday, January 29, 2017, the Armenian Family Support Services (AFSS) held its 12th annual Soup Kitchen and talk on Shining Light on Mental Health, part of its Wellness Lecture Series.

The Soup Kitchen, AFSS’s signature activity, is a humble event which simulates a basic soup kitchen for the homeless in our streets. Soup is served to community members as a reminder of the plight of the less fortunate in our society who rely on relief organizations to provide food and shelter. Through this activity AFSS raises awareness of the conditions faced by the underprivileged among us.

On this occasion, The Honourable Jim Karygiannis, Member of Toronto City Council, Scarborough-Agincourt, presented a Letter of Appreciation to AFSS on behalf of Toronto City Council. He commended the organizers for their commitment to helping the people of Toronto. He also praised AFSS for the important message shared with the community through this event.

Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian, Vicar of the Armenian Diocese of Canada and Parish Priest at Holy Trinity Armenian Church, blessed the food and spoke about the good work carried out by the Board and volunteers.

After soup was served, everyone participated in the complementary lecture entitled “Mental Health and Well-Being During Challenging Times” presented by Maida Icliates, B.Sc Psych , Probation and Parole Officer, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, and Katie Almond, BA Psych, M.Ed., Policy Analyst, Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services. Topics covered were: The importance of having this conversation, Myths about Mental Illness, Mental Health 101 including discussion on schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder, depression, and anxiety; Mental Health in the workplace, Stigma and Discrimination, How to stay in Emotional Balance, with examples of Breathing exercise and Mindfulness. The presentation was well received, with participants asking questions and requesting more such presentations in future.

AFSS would like to thank all the generous donors who contributed at this event. Your donations will go to support AFSS’s programs and services. AFSS also thanks all the hard-working and dedicated volunteers who donated their time and resources to making this event a success: Mrs. France Kandaharian, Mrs. Ayda Afarian, Lara’s Restaurant, Ms. Ani Kokorian, CuBE plastics, Mrs. Astra Hagopian, Mrs. Diana Walsh, as well as Mrs. Artemis Moushian and Ms. Ivet Panossian of the HTAC Women’s Guild. Thank you to everyone who contributed to this memorable day.

Webinar organized by AFSS " Supporting Armenian Syrian refugees: Unique needs and challenges"  

AFSS Press Office 

Published November 2017 

Please click on the link below to watch Webinar by AFSS  " Supporting Armenian Syrian refugees: Unique needs and challenges" . 

Thank you to our presenters, Jeanette Gevikoglu, BA, LLM, board member, and Maida Icliates, BSc, founder, Armenian Family Support Services.

AFSS 2017 Christmas refugee arrival at Pearson Airport. 

Welcome to Canada Krikour Bamboukian!

On March 10, AFSS hosted our monthly Community Support Circle. Our session had two speakers.

Mehdi Toozhy, provided a motivational session. An Iranian immigrant himself, he talked about adaptation, how newcomers can set goals and develop habits to make a successful like in Canada. A successful author, he donated to AFSS a copy of his book, Keys to Success at School and Beyond.

Second, in honour of International Women's Day, Lubna Shaban attended. She is a settlement counsellor from the Arab Community Centre of Toronto. She provided an educational workshop about family law and domestic violence.

It was a night full of positivity. We hosted some families for the first time, and we look forward to seeing them and the rest of our families at our next AFSS session on Sunday, April 23 at 1pm!

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Art Exhibit organized by Armenian Family Support Services, titled "Art is the Language"

​​AFSS Press Office
Published November 6, 2017

The one-of-a-kind Art is the Language art exhibition was held on Sunday, November 5, 2017 at Holy Trinity Armenian Church. It brought together the art of two ancient cultures, Armenian and Indigenous, in celebration of Canada's 150th Anniversary. 
The opening of the ceremony was in three languages and they all delivered one common message: Art is a common language of humanity. 
The event was attended by MP John McKay, MPP Mitzie Hunter, Counselor Jim Karygiannis and Hratch Aynedjian on behalf of MPP Raymond Cho's office, as well as many Syrian Armenian refugees and members of the community.
AFSS was empowered by receiving a warm greetings message from Honorable Kathleen Wynne, premier of Ontario.
The objective of this program was to deepen the understanding of Canada and its indigenous people through Art and Culture, and help our newcomers integrate into the fabric of their new home Canada.
The cultural program included performances by Ingenious singers from Eagle Women Singerz grup , Sassoon Dance Ensemble and Ms. Hasmig Bertizian.
We truly experienced a harmonious symphony of art: Native drummers drummed along to Armenian rhythms as Sassoon dancers performed in a harmony of two cultures.The same harmony continued in the exhibition hall where we witnessed Razmig Bertizian's beautiful art pieces showcased with Native arts organized by Armen Gallery of Toronto. 
The art loving audience was served with High Tea reception, afternoon tea and home made baked goods specially prepared for the occasion by Silva Baberian, and the volunteers provided excellent service while people enjoyed their time.
We are thankful to our sponsors, JeWLR company and Annie Demirjian AFSS Board Member.
The program committee headed by Christine Topjian, and the AFSS Board were showered by words of thank you for an amazing art and culture event. The organization recorded one more success story in its 14 years’ service to the community, through dedication to its mission. 

On April 23, AFSS hosted another successful support circle at Holy Trinity Armenian Church. Newcomers attended to Church Mass which was dedicated to 102nd anniversary of the Armenian Genocide. The Honourable Mitzie Hunter, the Minister of Education and Member of Provincial Parliament for Scarborough-Guildwood was invited. During her address to the parishioners Hon. Mitzie Hunter MPP, thanked Armenian Family Support Services Chair Rita Odjaghian as well as the Board and Volunteers of AFSS for all their dedicated work in helping Syrian refugees fleeing their homes in that region today.

After her speech, Hon. Mitzie Hunter MPP joined the AFSS Community Support Circle in the Magaros Artinian Hall where AFSS had organized an employment workshop for the refugees. She went from table to table to greet the refugees and was moved to tears with the story of Maria and her two children. Maria told her that her husband died of stress and stroke during the bombings, leaving her alone with her two children in their war-torn neighborhood. A family from Elmira sponsored them with the help of AFSS. Hon. Mitzie Hunter MPP, reassured Maria that she was safe here in Canada and that she was welcome.

In this event, we had a surprise for kids aside from games and entertainment. They received colorful rain boots received through generous donations.
Joy, smile and positive outlook to life was instilled in the hearts of our newcomers.

Community Support Circle - Canada's Heritage

AFSS Press Office

Published June 25 2017

On June 25, 2017, AFSS was proud to host another successful Community Support Circle! Guest speaker, André Chamberlain, lawyer at Public Prosecution Service of Canada, gave an enlightening lecture about Canada's Indigenous history. Attendees were interested and eager to learn more about Canada's diverse history and the stories of the Indigenous communities of Canada. This was truly a great opportunity for attendees to integrate and immerse themselves into Canadian culture!

AFSS Meets the Honourable Laura Albanese, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration

AFSS Press Office

Published June 26 2017

June 26, 2017 was a memorable day for Armenian Family Support Services. AFSS had the incredible opportunity and honour to meet with The Honourable  Laura Albanese, Minister of Citizenship and Immigration of Ontario. Seza Nazarian, AFSS board member and Rita Odjaghian, Chair of AFSS had the pleasure to present AFSS. They were thrilled to discuss the organization's outstanding achievements and all its activities to the Minister and her staff. Taking part in this conversation was another significant exposure for AFSS!

Community Support Circle - "Employment" Workshop by the YMCA Centre

AFSS Press Office

Published August 23, 2017

On Sunday, August 20, 2017 AFSS hosted another informative Community Support Circle for our Syrian Armenian newcomers. We are thankful for our guest speakers Pip Horne and Rishma Ramdin, job developers from the YMCA centre, for their presentation on how to achieve a successful employment. They provided helpful tips for job search and resume writing, spoke about youth employment and educated our newcomers on the multiple resources available in the city. This presentation was truly beneficial to our Syrian Armenian newcomers as well as to anyone interested in learning more about Toronto’s job market and helpful resources.

Community Support Circle - Domestic Violence and Setting Goals Workshop, by the Housing Help Centre

AFSS Press Office

Published March 10, 2017

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Community Support Circle - "Month 13 Planning" Workshop

AFSS Press Office

Published February 17, 2017


On February 17, AFSS hosted our first Community Support Circle of 2017. It was an exceptionally successful night. The Maral Ishkanian hall was filled with newcomers for a session on "Month 13" planning, a program designed to help them transition from the period of sponsorship to an independent life in Canada. Inas Hamid from the Refugee Sponsorship Training Program was the speaker assisted by Kasya an Armenian-Syrian refugee herself. Der Zareh attended to greet the guests and bless the dinner.

We are thankful to our volunteers Mrs. Alvart Siraki and Mrs.Maryam Andranik and Vatche Nikoughossian for all their help and support in our entire events. At the end of the workshop Mrs. Maryam Andranik was awarded with Canada Volunteer brooch, by Rita Odjaghian AFSS Chair.​

Unveiling the New Immigration Laws to Further Protect Women

AFSS Press Office

Published April 28 2017

On April 28, 2017 AFSS had the honour and privilege to participate in unveiling the new immigration laws to further protect women. The Honourable Ahmed Hussen, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, personally announced the new regulations to media. He emphasized the Government of Canada’s commitment to family reunification and gender equality. Part of the audience in this unveiling ceremony were 20 women in Power and Leadership. Rita Odjaghian, AFSS chair, was chosen by Salma Zahid, Member of Parliament for Scarborough.


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Community Support Circle -  Skilled Trades Workshop by The Career Foundation 

AFSS Press Office
Published October 30, 2017

On Sunday October 29, AFSS hosted The Career Foundation for another Community Support Circle about the Skilled Trades.

This was the final Community Support Circle of 2017 and well attended!

Howard Penney from the Foundation provided information and contacts for those who want to train in any of Ontario's 150 trades.

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