The third day of my placement was on March 1st. This time I stayed from 8:00 AM to 1:30 PM. Right as I walked in the office, many of the staff members who I had gotten familiar with last time greeted me with smiles on their faces! I was very happy as it made me feel like I was a part of the team. 🙂
8:00 AM – 11:00 AM
Today, it was really busy in the morning. There were several families waiting in the chairs, and the place was packed. Many people were waiting to meet with Mohsen, and I could see how well he was handling this busy line up.
When he got the chance to speak with me, as always, he handed me the keys and I was back in the storage portable. I guess you could say I’m starting to get really familiar with this place.
Another day, another set of bags full of donations to organize!
Soon after I started my work there, a woman came by telling me that she had a van full of new backpacks (full of new supplies) to donate! I was so glad to hear it! The number of donations we are getting is unending.
If you thought there were a lot of backpacks last week, then you should have seen how many there were now!
I chatted with the woman who came by for a little while about the donations. She asked me about the quality of the donations and I was happy to tell her that many of the things were either brand new or gently used condition. The woman told me she was very glad and relieved to hear this, as in the past, in other locations, she had seen some very poor quality and dirty things being donated. Hearing this, I was glad to see that the quality of the things people choose to donate have much improved!
With the huge number of bags that were just brought over, it was actually getting a little hard to fit everything in the room. I ended up having to leave some of the things inside the plastic bags. My thought at this time was “maybe it would be possible to open up another area for the donations?” I actually suggested this to Mohsen afterwards, and he told me that at this time there weren’t any other free areas available to them. However, many people would be coming in to look at the donations on Saturday. So hopefully, all the wonderful donations will be put to good use, and the place will be cleared up a little as well!
Today, there was something that happened in the portable that made this visit stand out in comparison to the others. Today I actually got to see for myself, the direct outcome of what I’ve been doing by organizing these donations for the past few days. What’s better than getting the chance to see the results of the hard work that’s being done? 🙂
A middle-aged Syrian woman came to visit the portable today to take some of the things. She could only speak Arabic, and I didn’t know how to understand or speak this language. 😦 However, I tried to welcome her and guide her the best that I could! We had to communicate through mostly non-verbal communication and with the few words in English she did know. I could direct her to the signs, which were written in both Arabic and English. She gestured things with her hands and I gestured back, and I am happy to say that I was able to effectively help her get everything she needed. I helped her pick out
snowpants for little boys – one thirteen year old and one nine year old. I also helped her find some nice shoes, school bags and school supplies. She seemed to be very pleased with a lot of the things she found. 🙂 I was so glad! When she was done picking all her things, I helped her carry all the things back to the centre. As we were walking back, she thanked me several times. Her gratitude made me feel very fulfilled about the work I had been doing.
After organizing all of the new arrivals a little more, I headed back to the centre.
11:00 AM – 12:00 PM
The task I was given now was nearby the receptionist area. Working alongside Melanie, I had to do some filing. At the Welcome Centre, when families are registered, there is a lot of paperwork that must be done. The Welcome Centre helps the children of the families enrol in schools based on their assessments. After Melanie checked these files, she gave them to me to file in the drawers. I also had to make sure that all the files were in alphabetical order, as some of them had gotten a little messed around.
(A little side note: While I was doing this job, the radio was on. At one point, I heard a little story on the radio about a group of fifth-grade children, who all decided to start learning American Sign Language just to support and better communicate with their classmate who was deaf. It’s such a sweet story – and so fitting with our course! It put a smile on my face as I heard it. I actually went home, looked up the story and found an article on it! I wrote about it too, as a part of my newscrawl! Check it out here! )
12:00 PM – 1:30 PM
At around 12:00, Vikram, a settlement worker at the Welcome Centre came in. I was to ‘job shadow’ him for today. I was very glad to have gotten the opportunity to do this! This would probably allow me to get a better grasp on the whole process the families go through at the Welcome Centre. I got a chance to speak with him about myself, the course I am in, and my future aspirations. He was very informative, helpful and friendly! I also had the opportunity to ask him any questions about the Welcome Centre. I got a whole debriefing of the process:
First, families who have recently immigrated register at the Welcome Centre. There is a list of forms they need to fill out. Then, the family is assessed by the settlement workers and the teachers so that the children of the family can begin their education in Peel. The assessments are done to figure out the family’s needs, immigration status, family background and any other necessary information. The children’s Math and English knowledge is also assessed to determine their skill level.
Families are also given connections to any resources and agencies that will help them with finding employment, volunteer opportunities, etc. Overall, the Welcome Centre aids in the process of registering children into school and finding connections to resources and opportunities in the community, making the transition to this society much easier for newcomers!
Vikram was supposed to assess a family that was to come in today. However, the family ended up not coming in, and I was unable to see this process for myself. 😦 Instead, I helped Vikram out with some photocopying until it was lunch time.
Today was a fairly eventful day, and I enjoyed my time there – especially since I feel like I am already friends with a lot of the staff!
Hopefully, I will be able to see even more in my next visit!
So, until next time~