The Community Connections Program prides itself on the success of our mentorship matches. Our mentors offer support, and professional and personal guidance to our participants in their transition into the Canadian job market. Lasting relationships form, and the impact is long lasting. For this post, we asked one mentor and his mentee to discuss their mentorship so that the community will have the opportunity see why mentorships matter.
Meet Darrell and Rahul. Matched in the Fall of 2015, the two have worked through the challenges brought forth by Rahul in his search for employment and success here in Canada.
When asked why he decided to become a mentor, Darrell responded by telling us a story of his adventure trekking through the Himalayas and his self-reflection.
“In 2014 I trekked through the Himalayas to the base camp of Mount Everest. I was struck by the people I met – who, by my standards were extremely poor BUT, also by my standards, were far happier than I was. A year later, the devastating earthquake in Nepal, jolted me to reflect and re-evaluate what I was doing in my own life. I subsequently set a personal goal of spending more of my time volunteering in my community and applied to WoodGreen’s Community Connections Program’s English Conversation Circles. I enjoyed that so much that I continued volunteering with their inaugural Office Dynamics program. Mid-way through that program, Katerina approached me to ask if I would be interested in participating in the Mentorship program. I didn’t quite say “Heck yes!” but I may as well have. I became a mentor for two reasons: (1) it allowed me to continue my personal commitment to spend more time volunteering in my community and (2) I already knew from first-hand experience what an amazing organization WoodGreen is.”
Based on his mentoring experience with the Community Connections Program so far, Darrell has said that this volunteer opportunity has impacted him in a very positive way.
“Mentoring for me has acted like a mirror to my own early experience in this country (I immigrated to Canada more than 30 years ago) – it’s peppered with constant reminders of the necessary adjustments all newcomers must make in order to set roots and succeed in this amazing country. My mentee, Rahul, has an inexhaustible optimism and I feel privileged to provide guidance in his search for his first Canadian job.
My experience is that I get more than I give – the benefit I personally have experienced is that the positive energy I derive from mentoring has seeped into other aspects of my life: work and family. I only wish I had discovered this much earlier!”
When Rahul first arrived in Canada, he said that his needs were getting help to settle and adjust in the new country, and understand its culture. When registering with the Community Connections Program, he said that he found the program to be “friendly, responsive, and forthcoming”, which led him to register with the mentorship program.
Rahul has said that the mentorship program has helped him both personally and professionally.
“The Program has helped me immensely, both personally and professionally. From day one, when Katerina introduced me to Darrell at the WoodGreen office on the Danforth, he has been a true mentor. Ever since, we have had regular meetings and he has helped me understand the Canadian workplace culture, help me network with his colleagues and friends, guided me to develop my soft skills, conducted mock interviews, and provided guidance and encouragement in my job search. Structured opportunities with like-minded individuals have greatly accelerated my integration into living in Canada. It has enabled me to build my own network with other Canadian newcomers across the GTA. Katerina and Teresa have been exceptional in communicating and coordinating.”
Rahul mentioned that the success he found in Canada so far was contributed to how the Community Connections Program offered the support he needed to be able to adapt quickly into his new Canadian environment.
“Although I am still searching to land my first job (ideally in the pharma / healthcare sector), WoodGreen’s Community Connections Program, and my mentor Darrell have accelerated the speed at which was able adapt to my new Canadian environment – I know that I am better equipped than 6 months ago, having received guidance in job search strategies, resume correction, understanding cultural differences, making small talk and basically understanding the subtleties of life in Canada. Some individuals and volunteers at WoodGreen have also inspired me and I know that, once I am able to find work, I will pay-it-forward through WoodGreen and other organizations.”
We, at the Community Connections Program, would like to congratulate Darrell and Rahul on their successful mentorship and wish them both the very best of luck in the future!
Thank you, gentlemen, for sharing your story and for allowing us to showcase it.
Supervisor, Community Connections Program