Riders 4 Refugees, 2020.
Ideas can be very powerful. A simple idea from a colleague or a loved one can inspire change and impact those around the world. Likewise, Tim Taylor, an Anglican Priest at St. Johns York Mills Church found himself becoming a refugee sponsor and now a board member at AURA simply because a parishioner at his church came to him with an idea. He stated that “the advocation for refugees really became real when a friend of mine reached out. It became very tangible and real.” This idea led to the resettlement and unification of a Syrian refugee family, and soon a Ugandan family as well. Although the refugee sponsorship process has been slowed due to the pandemic, Tim’s advocacy work hasn’t stopped. He recently participated in the Ride for Refuge Fundraiser which took place on October 3rd along with his friends and family to raise money for AURA. The Ride for Refuge is an annual fundraiser that takes place all across Canada to raise money for organizations that advocate for vulnerable populations such as refugees.


Riders 4 Refugees setting out.
This year, Tim’s team “Riders 4 Refugees” consisted of 6 people who all partook in the 10km bike ride and were able to raise over $8,000 for AURA. One reason for their success is team member Eric Polo. Eric is a 13-year-old who has Diamond-Blackfan anemia. This condition makes it difficult for his body to produce red blood cells posing a challenge when performing strenuous physical activity. However, when Tim shared the idea of raising money for AURA with Eric and his family, he didn’t hesitate to get involved: “When [Eric] heard that we were doing this fundraising, he said he wanted to do it too. He trained all summer and learned how to ride a bicycle at 13.” Eric was not only able to learn how to ride a bicycle and fulfil a personal goal but was also able to move many people and raise money to help refugee families around the world. Tim emphasized Eric’s impact by saying that “[Eric’s] story engaged a lot of people who knew him and the challenges he was facing. A lot of it was because Eric was participating.” Thanks to Eric’s persistence and the participation of many others, AURA was able to collectively raise $30,913 during the Ride for Refuge 2020.


Riders 4 Refugees fat the finish!
As the new year begins, Tim hopes to share this idea with the youth groups at his church so that everyone can come together at the Ride for Refuge in 2021. When asked about how to get people involved, he said that it was important to make a “direct connection”. He highlighted that “organizations like AURA are responsible for 20% of the worlds resettlement of refugees” and how as Canadians “we should be really proud” because we are model for other countries when it comes to private sponsorship.


Tim continues to champion the cause for refugees as him and his sponsorship group fundraise for a Ugandan refugee family of six who will arrive in Canada by March 2021. His story is a testament to how ideas can translate to powerful movements and inspire change worldwide.