We are a society of volunteers


Cheryl Balay, President

In response to the ongoing refugee crisis Cheryl, and a group of compassionate, committed volunteers formed Athabasca Interfaith Refugee Sponsorship Society to make a difference with refugee sponsorship. She has seen the extreme poverty, challenges, and great needs in African communities when she volunteered with her husband and ministry teams in Zambia, serving with Seeds of Hope Children’s Ministry. Cheryl is also an active community volunteer with Pastoral Care and the Community Christmas Dinner. From the blessings Cheryl has received, her heart’s desire is to be a blessing to others, both locally and internationally, by sharing God’s love to give hope and a future. Cheryl began volunteering with AIRSS in 2007. She has been President since 2013.

Gail Leicht, Treasurer

Gail has a heart for those who are persecuted and joined AIRSS to make a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable in our world.  As a teenager in Athabasca, Gail and her family worked with a refugee group in town to sponsor two Vietnamese refugees, one of whom lived with Gail's family for a year.  It was a marvelous experience.  The people we help have no one else, they have nothing and live in fear and want.  Whatever we can do to make a difference, even if only for a few, is entirely worth it!  Gail also volunteers with a local music society and is active in her local church as the Sunday School Superintendent. Gail has been a volunteer with AIRSS since 2012 and has served as Treasurer since 2014.

Some of our supporters are rooted in Athabasca and connect our families with the local community but we also have support throughout the province of Alberta and other parts of Canada, as well as wonderful support from the Shona Congo Community in the United States and Canada.


All Saints' Anglican Church of Athabasca

Aspen Ridge Christian Fellowship 

Athabasca Community Men's Group

Athabasca Landing Business Services

Athabasca Reformed Congregation

Buy-Low Foods Inc.

Northern Lights Spiritus Singers Choir

Penny's Headquarters - Beauty and Spas


St. Gabriel's Roman Catholic 

Tipton's YIG Athabasca

Become a supporter

If you would like to provide support, please fill out the form below and one of our members will get back to you.

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