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WoodGreen Makes Opportunities for Newcomers

For more than 40 years,  Woodgreen has been helping newcomers settle in Canada and become familiar with all aspects of Canadian life. In fact, more than 8,600 newcomers use WoodGreen’s settlement services each year. WoodGreen staff speaks a combined 26 languages, making services easier to access and understand for those whose first language is not English.

Hector Guevara and his wife Katya Tene immigrated to Canada from Ecuador in May 2010. Both are financial analysts, and they hoped to settle in Toronto and continue building their careers. They sent out countless resumes, and waited for a response from a potential employer. They didn’t get one.

“We sent out resumes, and it was very discouraging because no one would call,” said Katya. They registered with WoodGreen’s Immigrant Services and started taking English classes immediately. “Our settlement worker also suggested we enroll in the mentorship program.” The mentorship program is part of the Community Connections program, funded by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. “Community Connections matches newcomers with volunteers who are familiar with Canadian culture, values, workplaces, and everyday life,” said John Viktorin, Manager of Employment Supports. Volunteers help newcomers adapt to living and working in Canada, practice English, participate in the community and much more.

Katya and Hector were paired with WoodGreen volunteer mentor John Langley. Now retired, John held senior economist roles with the federal government, the province and TD Bank. When they began working together, Katya was employed in an entry-level role and Hector could not find work. John helped them with ideas on how to enter and develop their professions in Canada, and also advised them on business communication styles, workplace culture and employer expectations.

“They’re a terrific, wonderful couple,” John said. “We met for an hour or two each week, and we’d discuss their resumes, workplace values, interview skills – even buying property, the levels of government.”

“We talked about the concerns we had about our job search and networking,” said Katya. “John was wonderful. He followed up with mock interviews, and was always very helpful.” Recently, the trio celebrated two major successes: Katya was promoted and is now managing a team. Hector got a job offer and is now working full time as a Financial Analyst. He is also working towards his CMA designation. Both are employed at a major communications firm in downtown Toronto. “Without John we would have given up, we would have become frustrated. John’s main achievement was to keep us from despair,” Katya said.

John is quick to point that Hector and Katya were successful because of their strong work ethic, skill and perseverance. “They had determination and they were highly motivated even when it was very discouraging. They did all the work – I just supported them where I could.”

Call WoodGreen Today!

There is so much involved in making a life in a new country. But we can help you every step of the way.

To find out more about our settlement programs and services for newcomers, call 416-645-6000 ext. 2100 or 2200.

We have two locations serving newcomers:

• 1491 Danforth Ave. (near Coxwell Station)

• 815 Danforth Ave., Third Floor (between Donlands and Pape subway stations)

Settlement programs for adults include:

• orientation

• networking and social events

• English language support

• job search support and employment connections

• employment bridging programs for internationally–trained professionals

• mentorship

• volunteer programs

• one-on-one settlement support

Programs for Newcomer Youth include:

Youth 13 to 24 are provided with supports to give them a greater sense of belonging, including:

• leadership training

• job search clinics

• one-on-one guidance

• social activities

• culturally sensitive programs, such as Sisters in Action which supports young Muslim women

• arts and homework clubs

For more information, please visit the Woodgreen website


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