Closeup of an older man wearing a knitted cap
September 2023

Hope in Action

Finding work can be difficult. For many of the people that Ray of Hope serves, it’s even harder. In this issue, discover how our newly expanded Employment Services programs are helping participants overcome their unique challenges and successfully enter the workforce. Then, learn how you can ensure more people have a joyful Thanksgiving this year.

As always, thank you for reading. Your support makes what we do possible!

Working to build bridges out of poverty

Ray of Hope’s Employment Services programs help people who have faced employment challenges enter the job market.

As Canada’s unemployment rate inches higher, young adults, new Canadians and people dealing with disabilities, mental health issues or substance misuse face additional obstacles when they enter the job market.

Bahadir was one of those who found himself hitting brick walls while looking for a job. After arriving in Canada, he hoped to continue working in computer science, but he’d only been able to obtain employment in retail or delivery services. With little Canadian work experience and few connections, his career dreams seemed out of reach.

Ray of Hope’s newly expanded Employment Services helps people like Bahadir who experienec challenges in finding or maintaining full-time employment. Two programs are now available: the Youth Employment Program for people between the ages of 18 and 30 and the Employment Support Program for anyone who may need more intensive support due to disabilities, mental health issues or substance misuse.

Both programs receive funding through Service Canada, but many participants are introduced to the programs through services provided at the Ray of Hope Community Centre (ROHCC).

Wrap-around support

“We have designed the programs with wrap-around support available to everyone via the community centre and targeted the curriculum specifically to employment theory, skills and strategies,” says Employment Service Coordinator Josh Healey.

During the programs, participants learn about themselves through assessments and gain skills that are essential to entering the labour force — including résumé writing, interview skills and how to access the hidden job market.

They also obtain certifications in health and safety, safe food handling, first aid and CPR and receive wrap-around support — from counselling and childcare to assistance with housing, food, clothing and more.

A young female and male worker wearing hard hats in warehouse

Participants complete an internal placement at the ROHCC and an external placement with a local employer, where support from program staff continues.

“We frequently monitor the external placement, and we can offer on-site job coaching to ensure participants are successful long-term,” Josh says.

Participants leave the program with new self-marketing documents, strategies and an action plan.


Crossing the bridge

Many individuals struggle with employment because they have never had the opportunity to learn important life skills. These programs offer a bridge out of poverty, Josh says, and an opportunity for participants to become financially stable and independent.

Bahadir is well on his way to crossing that bridge.

“Bahadir worked very hard in the program,” Josh says. “With the help of staff, he created a “tech” style résumé and committed to learning about informational interviews and the hidden job market.”

Bahadir targeted his approach, focussing on the tech sector, and worked to expand his network. He’s now employed in cybersecurity at one of Waterloo’s top tech companies.

“In Employment Services, we hope to be the bridge between dreams and success,” Josh says. “The programs give participants like Bahadir the time, structure and opportunity to turn their dreams into reality.”

To register for one of the Employment Services programs, please contact Anthony Cramer (Youth Employment Program) and Furkan Cat (Employment Support Program). You’ll be asked to provide your most recent résumé.

Thanksgiving Food Drive for Ray of Hope

Please join us in spreading Thanksgiving joy through a food drive for Ray of Hope! Here’s how it works:

Rally your church, workplace or community group to gather canned goods and non-perishable items. Spread the news. Share the need.

Collect the items on a set day or over several weeks

Drop off donations at Ray of Hope on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Celebrate your generosity. Take a photo of what you’ve collected and share it with your group. Then share it with us — we’d love to celebrate your generosity by sharing your picture online!

Suggested items: 

  • Boxed mashed or scalloped potatoes
  • Gravy mixes or canned gravy
  • Stove Top stuffing
  • Canned cranberry sauce
  • Canned meat/fish
  • Canned fruit/vegetables
  • Pasta (canned or boxed) and pasta sauces
  • Peanut butter
  • Toiletries (Deodorant, shampoo, feminine hygiene products, toothpaste and toothbrushes)
  • Diapers

For more information, please contact us at: All donations are appreciated!

You can also feed hungry people through our secure donation page.



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