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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!

2018 Valentine's Day Arrivals Family!

Our Armenian Syrian family of 4, arrived in Toronto on Valentine's day. The family were sponsored by Chartwell church in Oakville with the collaboration of Armenian Family Support Services.

They were greeted with their sponosors, AFSS representatives and their cousins.This was a truly lovely moment in a New Country! ❤ ❤

Community Support Circle - Tenant's  Rights In Ontario Workshop by CERA​

AFSS Press Office

Published March 12, 2018​

Armenian Family Support Services provided an informative session to members of the public and newcomers to Canada on the topic of "Tenant's Rights in Ontario". Annie Hodgins, from The Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation spoke to an interested group of people on Friday, March 9, 2108, about the importance of knowing your rights as a tenant, and key issues in rental accommodation that tenants should be aware of.
Attendees gathered in the Maral Ishkhanian Hall of Holy Trinity Armenian Church listened intently as  Hodgins explained about lease agreement, terminating the agreement (three months' written advance notice) eviction rules, and more. Also, she informed in 2018, the rent cannot be increased more than 1.8% of the current rental fee.You can contact the Centre for Equality Rights in Accommodation if you have any question regarding rental housing or you want to know more about your rights as a tenant. Please visit CERA website at:

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!

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

AFSS Press Office

Published March 10, 2017

Latest News

Believe In The Power Of Dreams!!!

Three years ago Sarkis and his family were looking for a sponsor in order to begin a new and safe life in Canada.
AFSS through a great collaboration with Jewish Immigrant Aid Services (JIAS), was able to facilitate and make his dream come true.
On February 6th, 2018, Sarkis and his family of 7 arrived in Toronto and they were greeted by their sponsors and AFSS.
Sarkis and his wife Caroline still weren't able to believe that they were out of Iraq and were greeted by strangers who have become their immediate family. They felt that the welcome was so genuine and heartwarming.
" We have told our daughters that these are the people who saved your lives!" This was the first sentence that Sarkis and Caroline were telling their sponsors and AFSS.
Thank you to Lia Kisel & Jewish Immigrant Aid services for their support..

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.​

AFSS 13th Annual Soup Kitchen

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.


Sunday February 18th Armenian Family Support Services celebrated three events, all in one large family of our newcomers surrounded by our community.
Family day, we did introduce the concept of family day and the fact that "Family" is part of our AFSS brand.Soup Kitchen, one of our signature events, to appreciate our everyday blessings. 
Commemorating Maida Icliates's services as AFSS founder and first Chair.

We had several presentations: Linda Pichikian, AFSS Chair made the introduction and talked about family Day. Astra Hagopian presented the evolution of AFSS and Maida's leadership throughout the years. Maida Icliates shared her memories and her achievements at AFSS.

We were blessed to have Rev. Archpriest Fr. Zareh Zargarian with us, he blessed our event.
We also had a special visit from Councillor Jim Karygiannis’s office, delivering a certificate for the event and a scroll for Maida.Our event was quite musical, the talented Hasmig Tachjian performed beautiful songs both in Armenian and English.
Thank you to all our devoted volunteers for driving this great event.

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.


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. 

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.

Copyright 2016. Armenian Family Support Services. All Rights Reserved.

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 - "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.

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