Hope in Action
At Ray of Hope, this is the time of year that we look back at all the blessings we’ve received. Your support is a huge part of that. Want an example? Please watch the video below to see how you’re helping to make a difference in the lives of people we serve.
All of us at Ray of Hope wish you a joyful, peaceful holiday. Merry Christmas!
Homeless. Addicted to crystal meth. In trouble with the law. Derek’s life reflected the experiences of so many of our Community Centre guests. But Derek had the courage to change. It wasn’t an easy path and he had many setbacks. With the help of Ray of Hope staff, he has transformed his life. Now he’s helping others build their own new beginning.
Learning by serving
Alana Westervelt and Noel Bedford are living their faith as they serve a one-year internship at Welcome Home Refugee House.
Since September, they’ve provided live-in support, working and engaging with the refugees living at Welcome Home. Their roles involve a multitude of activities. One day they might help someone learn to navigate Grand River Transit or complete a government form. The next day they could be organizing an outing to Waterloo Park or helping one of the younger residents with homework.
Welcome Home Refugee House has offered paid internships for the past four years. A significant chunk of the funding for this year is being provided through a Multicultural Community Capacity Grant from the Ontario government and through the generosity of The Meeting House in Waterloo and Kindred Credit Union.
“In the past, this was a volunteer position. But it was hard to find people who were able to commit to a full-time, unpaid position,” says Sharon Schmidt, Welcome Home’s Program Director. “It’s exciting to have that financial commitment to help us fund these roles, which have a significant impact on the services we can provide.”
Alana had just completed a placement in Tanzania through the University of Waterloo’s International Development program, working in small-scale tourism development. She returned to find that numerous friends had seen the internship posting and encouraged her to apply.
“It’s really cool working for an organization where you can express your faith,” she says. “At Welcome Home we face many obstacles that are out of our control, and we as a staff get to spend time in prayer together, which is very encouraging..”
Noel first learned about the internship during a visit with his church, Waterloo Pentecostal Assembly, one of Welcome Home’s church partners. Noel had been working in a ‘regular’ job but wasn’t sure what he wanted to do next. This kind of ministry appealed to him and he’s enjoying getting to know the residents.
“It’s really nice hanging out with everyone,” he says. In the warmer weather, we go on bike rides or play basketball. And every Wednesday night we have our House Dinners, where everyone shares a meal.”
But life as a Welcome Home intern isn’t all fun and games. Alana and Noel are also involved in writing grant proposals, doing case management and giving presentations on refugee issues and Welcome Home’s role in the resettlement process. They are learning about (and practicing) everything from community development to conflict resolution to event coordination.
“Our interns are able to use the gifts they already possess and learn new skills, with intentional, personalized training and mentoring, that are useful even if they don’t end up working with refugees in the future,” Sharon says.
Alana agrees. “I’m learning about opportunities I’d never considered before,” she says.
“God has a plan for each person here and it’s amazing to see that plan come to fruition.”
Welcome Home Refugee House runs entirely on donor support. By becoming a monthly donor, you can help to provide internships for people who want to serve – and assist refugees at the same time! For more information on giving to Welcome Home, please visit our donation page.