Hope in Action
April is not only Eastertime, it’s also Volunteer Appreciation Month at Ray of Hope. It’s an opportunity for us to thank supporters like you who take time from your busy lives to serve our guests. In this issue, meet Claudia, who shared her experience as an intern at Ray of Hope with her church, and inspired them to volunteer as a meal team.
We wish we could recognize all of you in the e-newsletter. But please know that we deeply appreciate your contribution. Without you, it would be impossible to feed and care for the hundreds of people who rely on us 365 days a year. Thank you and Happy Easter!
Spreading the good news
Claudia Sanclemente has always enjoyed helping people. That’s why she became a lawyer in her home country of Colombia. When she immigrated to Canada, she wanted to continue to care for those around her.
The challenge of starting life in a new country with a different language made it difficult for Claudia to practise law. Instead, she enrolled in TriOS College’s community service worker program. When it came time to do her internship, she was offered the opportunity to volunteer at an organization called Ray of Hope.
Claudia’s faith is deeply important to her, so “I was excited to learn that Ray of Hope is a Christian organization,” she says.
Working with guests at the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC), Claudia couldn’t help comparing the way homeless people are treated in Canada, compared to Colombia.
“In Colombia, homeless people are treated like bad people. They live on the street and there are no services for them.”
The first few weeks of her internship were difficult. “I came face-to-face with the problems our guests face. It was so different from learning about these things through the examples my college teachers presented.” Claudia says.
“The first weekend was a hard experience. I came home and cried a lot.”
But whatever Claudia felt in private, she didn’t let it show at work.
In fact, Claudia’s warm, welcoming personality quickly made her someone ROHCC guests looked forward to seeing.
“Claudia has the heart and passion for helping people who are hurting,” says Volunteer Service Assistant Jaime Wright. “She’s so bright and cheerful, she lights up the world.”
In fact, Claudia did such a good job that at the end of her two-month internship this August, Volunteer Manager Ken Wideman asked her if she was ready to take her service to the next level. He suggested she apply for a service coordinator role at the ROHCC. Claudia was hired a month later.
“I hired Claudia because she displayed the qualities we want in staff while she was doing her placement,” says Program Director Dan Wideman. “She was friendly but firm with the guests, picked up on our routines and rules quickly and was always looking for what to do next. When things are slow she will engage guests or do some necessary cleaning and stocking of supplies. She is a definite self-starter. Since being on staff her fluency in Spanish has come in handy many times with guests who are newer to Canada.”
Not only is Claudia working at the ROHCC, she also recruited members of her church, Iglesia Cristiana Pentecostal Buenas Nuevas (“Good News” in Spanish) in Stratford. After Claudia gave a talk about Ray of Hope, church members provided a meal at the Community Centre. The experience went so well that they are now volunteering as a meal team on a monthly basis.
Claudia has also inspired others to think about careers serving others.
“One of our guests, a lady from India, asked me about working at the ROHCC. I asked her which job she was interested in, and she said, ‘yours’”, Claudia says with a laugh.
On a more serious note, Claudia talks about the things that mean most to her in her work at the ROHCC: being able to provide practical help to people in need while living her faith.
“Work shouldn’t be all about ‘my opportunities’ or ‘my money,’” she says. “The best part of this job is that it reflects the love of Jesus.”
Are you interested in serving Community Centre guests as an individual or part of a group? For more information, please visit our Volunteering page or contact Jaime Wright at 519-578-8018 ext. 224.
Why not join us at Rebel Creek on June 20 for the Ray of Hope Golf Classic, in support of our Employment Services.
Players of all abilities are welcome. There will be contests to challenge your skill and a prize table for all players.
When: June 20, 2022
Where: Rebel Creek Golf Club
Time: 1 p.m. shotgun start
Price: $175 (includes 18 holes, cart and dinner)
For more information or to learn how to sponsor this event, please contact us at email@example.com or 519-578-8018.
Building a better future
At Ray of Hope Secure Detention Youth Facility (“Secure”), the focus is on helping youth in custody to develop skills and strategies for a successful return to society.
Recently, Secure launched a group of programs designed for older youth who aren’t currently in school. The goal of these programs is to help these young men prepare for the workforce.
Nathan*, age 20, recently completed the Trades and Employment Readiness Program (TERP). TERP is a 10-week program developed and delivered in partnership with the Waterloo Region District School Board.
In TERP, students have the chance to earn 10 certificates, ranging from carpentry and drywall to finances and safe tool handling. They also earn two high school credits related to construction technology.
Nathan applied to the program because “I saw the value of getting work experience. And I wanted to see if construction might be something I would enjoy doing in the future.”
During the program, students complete several projects, including building a drywall cube and framing a wall unit with floor joists and window frames.
The cube was one of Nathan’s favourite projects. He was intrigued by the process: estimating the materials needed, buying the drywall, then cutting, taping and mudding.
“I enjoyed the hands-on structure of the program, learning how to do things step-by-step.”
Apart from cubes and walls, students also build confidence. Nathan says that learning how to tackle tasks that at first might look intimidating — like installing a door — “helped me sharpen my skills.”
While he’s not sure about pursuing construction as a career, Nathan knows he’s gained knowledge that he can use later on in life.
“When I have a house or apartment, I’ll be able to do my own renovations.”
Help a neighbour in need
When you give, you make life a little easier for vulnerable people in our community. Thank you!
The Marketplace food hamper program has put out a special call for these items:
For more information, please contact us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also feed hungry people through our secure donation page.