Tournament Raises $17K for Refugees

A successful evening at First United Church was held on March 8, 2019. This fun tournament raised more than $17,000 dollars for Central Okanagan Refugee Committee (CORC) sponsorships, including a Yemeni family. Thanks to all the friends, family, co-workers, and neighbours who pledged to support the Scrabble players! The evening was a lot of fun! Highlights included an opportunity to meet author Sharon Bala, author of The Boat People which won the 2015 Percy Janes First Novel Award and was selected for the 2018 edition of Canada Reads. At the intermission between games, tournament players listened to Bala read from her debut novel and talk about the process of writing, her own family’s experience in Sri Lanka and their eventual emigration to Canada. Bala ended her comments with a moving, heart-felt welcome to “those [in the audience] who have newly arrived…Welcome to Canada, there is room for you here!” Among the players were CORC’s most recent sponsoree, Anas Kartoumeh, a gay man from Syria who arrived in November 2016, and members of the Al-Shahoud family who arrived in 2013. The significance of that, noted tournament organizer Jodine Ducs, was not lost on those present. “At our last tournament, three years ago, the Al-Shahoud family had been present to say hello. They had just arrived a month earlier, knowing very little English. Tonight they are here playing Scrabble!”