I was a single parent, raising a daughter on my own and I lived in Hamilton. Previously I had worked as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) but then I injured my back so that was no longer an option. I had been a stay at home mom for 10 years and I decided to move back to Scarborough. I had family and friends here. While it was stressful at times before the move, I was doing fine but I wanted a support network of people who I knew cared for me. When I moved back, I had no skills and had been out of the job market for 10 years. My lack of employment was the biggest challenge I faced at that time.
I had been taking employment classes RNC Employment Services. I had been referred to them by my Ontario Works case worker. Just as the classes were finishing, I knew it was time to start looking for employment. Staff at RNC recommended looking for volunteer opportunities. If it was not for them, I would have never found SCHC.
They helped me reach out and I connected with Lori, the Coordinator of Volunteer Engagement. I began to volunteer as Administration Support at the Diabetes Clinic early in 2020. Shortly after, the pandemic hit and all SCHC volunteers were told to stay home, to stay safe. Lori reached out to me in July, asking if I could come into head office to provide some administrative assistance in the finance department. While I was helping in that position, another staff member suggested I look into the Client Intake Assistant position that was being advertised. I applied for it, and a week after I sent in my resume, I was granted an interview. Two days after my interview, I was told the job was mine! I had been told I was one of five people they interviewed. I was beyond excited and words cannot express how happy I was.
I feel great! I’m optimistic about my future for sure and I have skills I didn’t have before. It’s a contract position and I hope it gets extended. If it doesn’t, I still feel optimistic that I can get another job with the experience I now possess. The difference between a year ago and now is so big. I just feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I have new abilities, a new network of people and looking at my life from a year ago, my life feels so much better. I have HOPE.
Last March, I felt so uneasy about being sent home. Even then though, I just had a feeling that something good could come out of this. At the time, my friends said to me “What are you saying!?” I just had to believe in myself and hang onto that feeling. Now look at me, I came back to volunteer and a few month later, I ended up with a wonderful position that I am getting paid for.
This experience changed me for the better. Everything that has happened has made me a happier and more confident person and those are really good changes. I don’t know what else to say except that it’s better.
What inspires you in your life?
My daughter inspires me in my life for sure. She goes to Ryerson University and she is studying Community & Health Studies and is majoring in Child and Youth Care. She has aspirations to become a Social Worker, focusing on children and youth. She is so excited, happy and supportive of me in this new role.
I wish I had taken the chances that I am taking now earlier in my life. I wish I had joined the program employment centres, listened to my case worker more and used her and her resources more to my advantage. My advice to my former self and anyone else, would be to go out there and look for what you want. If you don’t have the skills you need right now, find out how to get them and go get them. Believe in yourself and have the confidence to go get it.
If you would like to learn more about volunteering at SCHC, please visit our Volunteers page here.