Jewish Family Services would like to thank Marzia Saramad for volunteering 128 hours through Catholic Social Services Links for Success program.  We’re very thankful that Marzia decided to continue volunteering with our English Classes and would like to share her story.

“JFS has been serving the Edmonton community since the 1950s as a not-for-profit organization. The organizational principles are based on Jewish values (Healing the world, Fairness, Caring, and Respect). Although it has a Jewish foundation, its services are open to people of all backgrounds. Their goal is to provide support to people suffering social, economic, and mental adversity.

The outreach services where I volunteer include community support programs for newcomers and others in need. The outreach team assists clients in finding social services and in addressing current issues such as employment barriers and language barriers. One of the services is Canadian Newcomer Support, which provides information about settlement, community referrals, money management, and job search assistance. In addition, they offer friendly English classes for people with basic, intermediate, and advanced English levels.

My job involves assisting English classes both in person and online. I was sometimes able to help the outreach team with other tasks they needed, such as writing, creating questionnaires and consent forms, conducting interviews, handling intakes, entering data, and sometimes doing technical tasks.

I gained valuable experience that I hope will be useful for my future career. As a part of my trip, I met a lot of people and organizations, including the Sexual Assault Center of Edmonton, Edmonton Multicultural Coalition, and Islamic Family and Social Services Association, attended the MacEwan University presentation on gender and migration using intersectionality approach, and met with representatives from different organizations that work on GBV, migration, and reducing it. There were a lot of networking opportunities, some friendships, and professional connections.

Although I cannot speak specifically about what I learned, spending time with people from different countries was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. My intention is not to make my story inspirational. Those little moments brought me joy and a smile even for an hour that I would like to share with you. The hours I spent there were precious to me because I was forgetting about everything here – no stress, no anxiety, no depression, and no worries about finishing my
master’s degree or finding a job. During those hours in the library, we knew how to assemble pieces and make something meaningful out of them. I learned being kind brings no harm and it is important to know what you can offer to others to make their life easier.

It is my pleasure to thank Irit, Assel, Frank, Teresa for providing The Link for Success program and Meital from JFS who allowed me to become part of the team, and all the participants who made this journey enjoyable. Through the Link program, I gained a lot of knowledge and experience from everyone.”

Marzia Saramad
Links for Success # 12- Final Project