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A Closer Look
What are your mission and vision?
The Regina Open Door Society (RODS) is a non-profit community based organization established in 1976 by volunteer members of the community with a strong desire to see needs based settlement and integration services for refugees and immigrants. Beginning with one part-time position operating out of a local church basement, RODS has grown along with its commitment to provide client centered services, programs and support along the continuum of the challenging settlement experience. Having served the Regina community for thirty-eight years, RODS has established itself as a nationally recognized innovator of settlement services for newcomers to Canada having piloted many national promising practices and programs over the years, as well as being a recipient of the Citation for Citizenship award.
Mission: Regina Open Door Society (RODS) is a non-profit organization that provides settlement and integration services to refugees and immigrants in Regina. RODS is committed to meeting the needs of newcomers by offering programs and services that enable them to achieve their goals and participate fully in the larger community.
Vision: RODS aims to build a welcoming community enriched by the diversity and strength of newcomers to Canada.
What are the programs and services offered by your organization?
- Settlement, Family and Community Services:
- Orientation Services for Newcomers (OSN) offers information, comprehensive needs assessments, referrals and settlement planning
- Resettlement Assistance Program (RAP)/Refugee Resettlement Services
- Settlement Support Workers in Schools (SSWIS)
- Youth Program
- Welcoming Community for Newcomers (WCN)
- Volunteer & Host Programs
- Community Connections
- Families in Transition (FIT) Professional Counseling
- KidsFirst Intensive Home Visiting Program
- Translation and Interpretation Service
- Newcomer Welcome Centre (NWC):
- Information, Assessment and Referral Centre
- Visit: reginanewcomercentre.ca
- Language, Employment & Child Care Services:
- Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada (LINC)
- Stage 1 and 2 English Programs
- Career and Employment Readiness Services
- Licensed Child Care Centre
- Children’s Summer Progra
- Regina Region Local Immigration Partnership (RRLIP)
- The overall objective of the RRLIP initiative is to develop a diverse partnership council to enhance collaboration, coordination and strategic planning at the community level. The goal is to foster a more welcoming and inclusive
community and improve settlement and integration outcomes.
- RODS has partnered with the Regina Regional Intersectoral Committee (RRIC) to develop the RRLIP.
Whom do you serve/target with your programs and services?
Immigrants and Refugees (Newcomers to Canada). RODS has something to offer all newcomers to Regina regardless of background. Whether a newcomer requires intensive settlement support, language training, Canadian workplace culture training or perhaps just some quick information and a couple of referrals, RODS will endeavor to meet each newcomers needs as presented. Immigrants and Refugees (Newcomers to Canada)
What are you working on right now (project, fundraiser, special event, etc)?
- Strategic Planning – Implementing new strategic framework and plan.
- Organizational Development and Capacity Building with a particular lens on Evaluation Capacity Building (ECB). ECB is the key to integrating evaluation into RODS programs and services. The Regina Open Door Society believes that program evaluation is a key component of our programs and that healthy, strong, outcome based programs warrant sustainable funding.
- Enhancing Board Governance
Do you have a call for volunteers, fundraising, employees, resource or submissions?
- RODS accepts donations for our programs and services continuously and from November to January, our focus shifts to fundraising for our “Welcome to Saskatchewan” packages we give to new refugee arrivals. Donations can be made on-line at www.rods.sk.ca Employment and volunteer opportunities are also available on the website.
- RODS is always recruiting new staff, depending on availability of positions and new opportunities, as well as the recruitment of new volunteers throughout our departments.
What is one thing people may not know about your organization?
- RODS will be forever grateful that in April, 2013 with extraordinary generosity, Niesner Properties Inc. gifted the Regina Open Door Society an incredibly significant property donation in downtown Regina, valued in excess of 2.5 million dollars.
Please share a story that illustrates your organization’s impact in the community.
Twenty-nine year old T. R. arrived in Regina from Eritrea in 2013 as a Government Assisted Refugee (GAR). Despite all the pain and immense challenges that he had experienced as a refugee, he arrived in Canada hoping for a better life. T. R. knew that moving to a new country would present many new difficulties, such as adapting to a different culture and finding a job, but he was also filled with self-confidence and the determination to succeed.
After receiving an initial employment orientation from RODS Refugee Assistance Program (RAP) Employment Liaison, T.R. was referred to RODS Employment Services where he received further employment training. Upon completion of this training, the RAP Employment Liaison connected T.R. with Transition to Trades, where he was selected to be one of fifteen students in a 23 week trades training program.
His smooth integration and contribution to the local community represents a great success not only to him and his family, but also to RODS and its funders and partners who have always been dedicated to supporting newcomers.
What types of challenges does your organization face?
Over the past eight years, RODS expanded from having an average staff size of 30 employees working out of 1 location to approximately 160 employees working out of 5 primary locations. The organization’s client base has grown from serving around 500 to well over 6000 newcomers annually through over 25 programs and specialized services.
The unprecedented growth placed tremendous responsibility on the Board of Directors, Executive Director, Leadership Team, staff, and the key stakeholders in a relatively short period. Rapid growth and the addition of significant numbers of new programs and staff members put incredible pressure on the organization’s systems and processes. RODS has met the challenge head on and continues to successfully manage the on-going change and growth in partnership with numerous community partners, funders and consultants in some specialized areas.