Bijumon's Story

Imagine landing in Canada full of excitement and hope but also worry.  Worry about finding a job, wondering how long that would take and what steps needed to be taken to accomplish that goal.  What choices would you make along the way?  There are no right or wrong answers to that question.  Our choices determine what we do next and the choices we make are the ones that fit our needs. 

With that in mind, let's meet Bijumon who arrived in Canada as an internationally trained social worker in October 2011. His goal was to get a job in his field which he was passionate about and he realized that volunteering with community agencies would expose him to the work culture in this country and would facilitate skills training including improving on his communication skills.

He realized that without having Canadian work experience it would be hard for him to get a social worker position. He had two goals - he wanted to gain work experience through volunteering as well as get a local reference which would help him in his job search.  So he registered with Volunteer MBC and worked as a 'Volunteer Ambassador' promoting volunteerism. As a resident of Malton, he contacted Newcomer Centers and neighborhood services in the area. He connected with facilitators of job search workshops and talked to participants about Volunteer MBC, which led to 'volunteering' being included as a part of the Job Search workshop. He encouraged newcomers to volunteer to develop new skills and improve existing ones. He also explored other opportunities and volunteered at World Vision, Heart House Hospice and Peel HIV/AIDS network.  He volunteered at these agencies simultaneously in different capacities and attended various training sessions. Interacting with both, experienced and new volunteers enabled him to learn and grow.  When he came across a job opportunity he was interested in at one of these agencies, he applied and attended a few interviews too. These exciting opportunities boosted his confidence and improved his interviewing skills. He continued to explore job opportunities in the community and made a point of mentioning his volunteer roles during interviews.  Interviewers appreciated him for doing volunteer work and for using his time constructively.  While some of his friends who arrived in Canada at the same time as he did, decided to get survival jobs in the community, he focused on volunteering and developing his skills to be a successful social worker.

Bijumon volunteered his time from November 2011 to June 2012 when he became a permanent fulltime social worker in the field of children’s mental health which was within seven months of his landing in Canada.   He credits his volunteer work with helping him achieve his goal.  Volunteer MBC acknowledged and appreciated his efforts and awarded him with the Newcomer Gem Volunteer Award, which said “The recipient has set a positive example for how newcomers to Canada can use their volunteering contributions to help define the path of a life in their new community.” To quote Bijumon, " I am indebted to Volunteer MBC and other member organizations that I volunteered with, for what I am today".