Onouvelles, avril 2014 : un message de Gail et Howard

Howard Berger et Gail Small, co-directeurs exécutifs, Agence Ometz

Howard Berger et Gail Small, co-directeurs exécutifs, Agence Ometz

Au cours de la dernière année, à l’Agence Ometz, nous avons été discrètement impliqués, avec le Directeur de la protection de la jeunesse, les Centres de la jeunesse et de la famille Batshaw, et d’autres organismes gouvernementaux, dans l’enquête sur les mauvais traitements présumés envers les enfants d’une secte connue sous le nom de Lev Tahor. Beaucoup d’entre vous ont probablement lu sur cette affaire dans les journaux ou, entendu les nouvelles à la télévision ou la radio.

Agence Ometz a pour mandat de s’occuper du bien-être des plus vulnérables de notre communauté, et les enfants à risque sont en tête de notre liste. Dans ce dossier, notre expertise a été demandée par divers organismes gouvernementaux. Nos professionnels ont répondu rapidement, efficacement et avec une grande sensibilité culturelle étant donné les défis sociaux et linguistiques inhabituels de ce cas particulier. L’enquête est loin d’être achevée, mais nous sommes prêts et en mesure de fournir tout ce qui pourrait être nécessaire pour bien aider nos partenaires et pour protéger nos enfants.

Un lien parfait pour notre campagne de financement annuelle – Dessine-moi une étoile – qui se tiendra une fois de plus sous le haut patronage de M. et Mme Herbert Black, le 8 avril à la Place des Arts. Nous accueillerons THE SILHOUETTES®, finalistes de  America’s Got Talent, un groupe d’enfants âgés de 6 à 22 ans, qui racontent des histoires et inspire le public dans le monde entier à travers la danse. Beaucoup de ces enfants affrontent eux-mêmes de sérieux problèmes de santé et utilisent la danse comme thérapie. Tous les fonds recueillis aideront l’Agence Ometz à soutenir des enfants à risque dans notre communauté, des enfants comme Jamie.

Jamie, 14 ans, vit avec sa mère célibataire et ses 2 sœurs, âgées de 7 et 11 ans. Son père a disparu après avoir perdu l’entreprise familiale à la suite d’un problème de jeu compulsif. Jamie a été signalé par un de nos conseillers scolaires après avoir été accusé d’intimidation envers un autre élève. Le counseling a révélé un jeune homme terrifié, qui regardait ce qu’il considérait comme la désintégration de sa famille, qui se blâmait de ne pas être en mesure d’intervenir et de prendre les choses en mains comme «l’homme de la famille». Ses notes se sont beaucoup détériorées.

Jamie a participé à notre programme Maximiser le potentiel de la jeunesse dont l’objectif principal est de briser le cycle de la pauvreté en encourageant, soutenant et en travaillant avec les adolescents et les jeunes adultes issus de familles à haut risque, afin de s’assurer qu’ils finissent leurs études secondaires et commencent leurs études postsecondaires. Agence Ometz a été en mesure d’offrir à Jamie divers services, dont:
• Un programme  de tutorat / aide aux devoirs après l’école pour l’aider avec les méthodes nécessaires pour étudier et réussir à l’école;
• du soutien pour parler de ses problèmes de vie personnelle, de ses objectifs et ses obstacles;
• un mentor qui est devenu un modèle et le premier supporter de Jamie.

Nous comptons sur vous pour nous permettre d’aider de nombreux autres enfants comme Jamie.
Joignez-vous à nous pour cette grande soirée et pour une grande cause!

Nous avons hâte de vous rencontrer le 8 avril à la Place des Arts pour voir THE SILHOUETTES® !!!
 

Gail et Howard

Onews, April 2014: A message from Gail and Howard

Howard Berger et Gail Small, co-directeurs exécutifs, Agence Ometz

Howard Berger and Gail Small, Co-Executive Directors, Ometz

Over the past year, we at Ometz have been quietly involved with the Director of Youth Protection, Batshaw Youth and Family Centres, and other government agencies to inquire into the alleged abuse of children by a sect known as Lev Tahor. Many of you have probably read about this in the newspapers or heard news items on TV or radio about this case.

Ometz is mandated to look after the welfare of the most vulnerable in our community and children at risk are at the top of our list.  In this dossier, our expertise was sought out by a variety of governmental agencies. Our professionals responded quickly, effectively and with great cultural sensitivity, given the unusual social and linguistic challenges of this particular case. The investigation is far from being concluded, but we are ready and able to provide whatever might be needed to assist our partners and to protect our children.

A perfect segue to our annual fundraiser, A Chance to Shine, is once again to be held under the patronage of Mr. & Mrs. Herbert Black, on April 8 at Place des Arts. We will be welcoming  THE SILHOUETTES®, 1st runners up on America’s Got Talent – a group of kids aged 6-22, who tell stories and inspire  audiences world-wide through dance. Many of these kids themselves battle serious health challenges via dance as therapy.  All of the proceeds raised at this event will help Ometz support kids at risk in our community – kids like Jamie.

Jamie, aged 14, lives with his single mom and 2 sisters, aged 11 and 7. His father disappeared after losing the family business as a result of a gambling addiction. Jamie was flagged by one of our school counsellors after he was accused of bullying a fellow student. Counselling revealed a terrified young man, who was watching what he felt was the disintegration of his family, and  blaming himself for not being able to step up and manage as the ‘man of the family’. His grades were slipping badly.

Jamie was referred to our Maximize Youth Potential program  whose primary objective is to break the cycle of poverty by encouraging, supporting and working with adolescents and young adults from high-risk families, to ensure that they complete high school and enter post-secondary studies. Ometz was able to offer Jamie a variety of services including:
• an after-school tutorial/homework program to help him with study techniques needed to succeed academically;
• supportive counselling – to discuss his personal life issues, goals and barriers;
• a mentor who has become a role model and Jamie’s no. 1 principal cheer leader.
We are counting on all of you to help us help countless other kids like Jamie.
Plan on joining us for this great evening for a great cause!

We look forward to meeting you in person at A Chance to Shine on April 8  at Place des Arts to see THE SILHOUETTES®!!!

Gail and Howard

Bring Your LinkedIn Message Alive

By Sharon Bishin, Corporate & Employability Trainer

Does this sound familiar?

  • You have an ok LinkedIn profile, but are not getting many inquiries about your business
  • You have an ok LinkedIn profile, but are not getting many inquiries about new job possibilities
  • You would really like to know how to effectively reach your audience
  • You would really like to know what to say to them
  • You wonder how to figure out who the decision-makers and key players are in your field

If any of these statements resonate with you, perhaps you are looking for a way to make your LinkedIn profile more strategic. Lucky!  We are offering an “Advanced LinkedIn” workshop   April 2nd here at Ometz @ 5:30 that will teach you – complete with practical exercises – how to maximize your visibility using this tool. You won’t be alone in wanting to take it to the next level; as LinkedIn celebrates its 11th birthday next month, there are more than two million users,  1.5 million of whom are in a group.  And they are active:  42% of users update their profile regularly, while 35 % of them access the site daily.

The workshop is given by marketing expert Sylvie Ouaknine who has more than 15 years experience developing business plans and social media marketing strategies for individuals, entrepreneurs and small-to-medium sized companies. The cost is $55. Here is the link to register online: http://bit.ly/1iv1ZoS

Social media is a reality.  Is it time for you get onboard?

Enjoy the spring!

It’s Fraud Prevention Month

Susan Karpman, Director, Community Services and Immigration

Susan Karpman, Director, Community Services and Immigration

By Susan Karpman, Director, Community Services and Immigration

So much fraud; so little time.If you Google fraud prevention month, or scams, or identify theft, you’ll get thousands of sites.But the basics are the same:

- If it’s too good to be true, it’s too good to be true.  Seems obvious, and yet many intelligent, educated, savvy people get drawn in by the seemingly good deal.  Don’t become a statistic.
- If you get a cold call or unsolicited e-mail from a financial investment expert or institution or a job offer to be a secret shopper or to work at home, don’t open it, don’t reply and don’t download anything.  Call or e-mail the legitimate home office and verify the identity of the person contacting you. 
- Check Snopes.com for internet scams.  Don’t send money for missing children, charities, etc. until you check their legitimacy.

Here, courtesy of the Little Black Book of Scams, Government of Canada Competition Bureau http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/eic/site/cb-bc.nsf/eng/03074.html#reader) are some more handy hints to protect yourself from Scams.  You can also go to the AMF’s site.  The Autorité des marchés financiers (AMF) is the body mandated by the government of Québec to regulate the province’s financial markets and provide assistance to consumers of financial products and services:  http://www.lautorite.qc.ca/en/prevent-fraud.html   http://www.lautorite.qc.ca/fr/prevenez-la-fraude.html

Protect Your Identity
• Only give out your personal details and information where it is absolutely necessary and when you trust the person you are speaking to or dealing with.
• Destroy personal information: don’t just throw it out. You should cut up or shred old bills, statements or cards—for example, credit cards and ATM cards.
• Treat your personal details like you would treat money: don’t leave them lying around for others to take.

Money Matters
• Never send money to anyone that you don’t know and trust.
• Do not send any money or pay any fee to claim a prize or lottery winnings.
• ”Jobs” asking you to simply use your own bank account to transfer money for somebody could be a front for money-laundering activity. Money laundering is a serious criminal offence.
• Avoid transferring or wiring any refunds or overpayments back to anyone you do not know.

The Face-to-Face Approach
• If someone comes to your door, ask to see some identification. You do not have to let them in, and they must leave if you ask them to.
• Before you decide to pay any money, if you are interested in what a door-to-door salesperson has to offer, take the time to find out about their business and their offer.
• Contact the Competition Bureau, provincial and territorial consumer affairs offices or the Better Business Bureau of your province or territory if you are unsure about a seller that comes to your door.

Telephone Business
• If you receive a phone call from someone you do not know, always ask for the name of the person you are speaking to and who they represent. Verify this information by calling the company yourself.
• Do not give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.
• It is best not to respond to text messages or missed calls that come from numbers you do not recognize. Be especially wary of phone numbers beginning with 1-900. These may be charged at a higher rate than other numbers and can be very expensive.
Email Offers
• Never reply to a spam email, even to unsubscribe—often, this just serves to “verify” your address to scammers. The best course of action is to delete any suspicious emails without opening them.
• Turn off the “viewing pane” as just viewing the email may send a verification notice to the sender that yours is a valid email address.
• Legitimate banks and financial institutions will never ask you for your account details in an email or ask you to click on a link in an email to access your account.
• Never call a telephone number or trust other contact details that you see in a spam email.

Internet Business
• Install software that protects your computer from viruses and unwanted programs and make sure it is kept current. If you are unsure, seek the help of a computer professional.
• If you want to access a website, use a bookmarked link to the website or type the address of the website into the browser yourself. Never follow a link in an email.
• Check website addresses carefully. Scammers often set up fake websites with addresses very similar to legitimate websites.
• Beware of websites offering “free” downloads (such as music, adult content, games and movies). Downloading these products may install harmful programs onto your computer without you knowing.
• Avoid clicking on pop-up ads—this could lead to harmful programs being installed on your computer.
• Never enter your personal, credit card or online account information on a website that you are not sure is genuine.
• Never send your personal, credit card or online banking details through an email.
• Avoid using public computers (at libraries or Internet cafes) to do your Internet banking or online shopping.
• When using public computers, clear the history and cache of the computer when you finish your session.
• Be careful when using software on your computer that auto-completes online forms. This can give Internet scammers easy access to your personal and credit card details.
• Choose passwords that would be difficult for anyone else to guess—for example, passwords that include letters and numbers. You should also regularly change passwords.
• When buying anything online, print out copies of all transactions and only pay via a secure site. If using an Internet auction site, note the ID numbers involved and read all the security advice on the site first.

Leave February on a strong job-seeking note

By Sharon Bishin, Corporate & Employability Trainer

Finally.We are about to emerge from one of the coldest, most difficult winters in a long time and we all know what they say about the spring; it is a time of renewal, energy and hope. Those are powerful elements to bring to the challenging period of job search. Sometimes it is just that…. an outside event….that helps us shift gears, re-examine our situation and find new drive to put into finding work. Here is a list of eight questions to ask yourself as you leave this month and meet the coming weeks with newfound resolve:

F  - Have you Focussed on calling for Informational Interviews at companies that interest you?

E – Are you Educated in what new courses, programs or qualifications you need to make you a strong candidate?

B – Do you Believe in your worth and value?

R – Have you Reviewed your CV to verify it is compelling?

U – Can you articulate your Unique and differentiating qualities?

A – Are you Accessing all forms of social media (Twitter/LinkedIn) to strengthen your digital identity? Remember 73.8% of recruiters look online to find candidates (check out Ometz’ courses).

R – Have you Rehearsed the 150 interview questions and answers available from the  www.quintcareers.com url?

Y – Do you fully embrace the notion that YOU are in charge of your job search actions and attitudes – which includes reaching out to agencies such as Ometz  – for a helping hand?

Toss away the heavy weight of winter clothing and embrace the lighter attitude of successful job search candidate. As well, don’t be shy to participate in all our courses that help you become a stronger applicant.

Promouvoir l’engagement scolaire: Que peuvent faire les parents?

Agence Ometz appuie les journées de la persévérance scolaire

Agence Ometz appuie les journées de la persévérance scolaire

Par Joanne Baskin, Chef de service, Services scolaires

Le saviez-vous ?

  • 1,9 milliard de dollars c’est ce que le problème du décrochage scolaire coûte chaque année à la société québécoise
  • 75% des étudiants diplômés en 2013. Il s’agit d’une augmentation significative de 5% au cours des dernières années
    • Les diplômés du secondaire vivent en moyenne 7 ans de plus
    • Le taux de chômage est deux fois plus élevé chez les décrocheurs
    • L’éducation est classée au 2e rang des principaux problèmes rencontrés par la société québécoise
    • Le revenu annuel moyen des décrocheurs est de 25 000 $ contre 40 000 $ pour les diplômés du secondaire

Les faits ne concernent pas seulement les questions scolaires, mais aussi les tendances sociétales. Les parents doivent être conscients et s’assurer qu’eux-mêmes, leurs écoles et leurs enfants détiennent les cartes favorisant la réussite scolaire.

Le 10 février 2014 marquera l’événement annuel « Journées de la persévérance scolaire »  qui se déroulera dans les écoles du Québec. De nombreuses écoles proposeront des activités dans et hors des salles de classe visant à promouvoir l’engagement de l’école dans les communautés scolaires. Le programme reflétera ce sujet par le biais du dialogue, d’essais, d’activités artistiques, de projets à l’échelle de l’école, de banderoles et d’affiches pour n’en nommer que quelques-uns. Les parents peuvent participer à la poursuite du dialogue en particulier dans les écoles où les facteurs de risque de décrochage sont plus élevés.

Selon le site des « Journées de la persévérance scolaire » www.perseverancescolaire.com/, les efforts devraient comprendre les éléments suivants :

• Donner l’exemple, encourager l’effort, applaudir les réussites.
• Offrir ou trouver de l’aide si l’enfant a de la difficulté à l’école.
• Encourager la lecture dès le plus jeune âge.
• Questionner régulièrement l’enfant sur ses expériences à l’école.
• Exprimer fréquemment l’importance que vous accordez à l’école.
• Dites souvent à l’enfant que vous croyez en ses capacités.

L’importance de la participation des parents, à la fois avec leurs enfants et l’école, ne peut pas être surestimée. Lorsque les familles s’intéressent au vécu scolaire de leurs enfants, les élèves ont plus de chance de mieux réussir les tests standardisés, se dépasser sur le plan scolaire, fréquenter régulièrement l’école, avoir une attitude positive à l’école et sont moins susceptibles de s’engager dans des comportements négatifs, antisociaux (alcoolisme et toxicomanie, conflits avec les pairs).

Onouvelles, janvier 2014: Un message de Gail et Howard

Howard Berger et Gail Small, co-directeurs exécutifs, Agence Ometz

Howard Berger et Gail Small, co-directeurs exécutifs, Agence Ometz

Par Gail Small et Howard Berger, co-directeurs exécutifs

Bonne Année!

2014 a déjà bien débuté et avec la plupart d’entre nous ont pris de bonnes résolutions que nous souhaitons suivre … mais cette fois nous le pensons sincèrement !

Eh bien l’Agence Ometz n’est pas vraiment différent ! Nous sommes un groupe de personnes qui voulons aider et nous le pensons sincèrement aussi!

D’année en année, nous essayons d’aider les membres de notre communauté qui ont besoin d’assistance pour s’installer à Montréal , trouver du travail , traverser une crise familiale ou à vivre avec les défis de l’école, un deuil, un divorce, la pauvreté ou la maladie mentale dans une famille . Ce sont de réels défis, quotidiens et redoutables mais notre résolution est d’offrir les meilleurs services possibles pour soutenir nos clients et les aider à devenir plus résilients.

À l’Agence Ometz nous avons fait une promesse à nos clients – offrir des  services sociaux accessibles, personnalisés, prenant en compte la dimension culturelle fondée sur des valeurs juives. Nous voulons aussi être sensibles, compatissants, engagés, innovateurs et inspirants. Nous essayons de tenir cette promesse chaque jour.

Nous ne pouvons pas faire cela tout seul et en réalité nous ne sommes pas seuls! Comme on dit, le tout est plus grand que la somme de ses composants, et nos composants comprennent un conseil de 15 bénévoles passionnés, une équipe de 100 professionnels dévoués et près de 400 bénévoles qui encadrent, enseignent, conduisent, livrent, recherchent des donateurs d’articles manquants pour les clients dans le besoin et qui, généralement, se rendent disponibles pour tout ce qui doit être fait.
 
Alors, comment faisons-nous? Voici un message que nous avons reçu juste avant les vacances.

De Josh
 
« Trouver un emploi aurait été presque impossible sans l’aide de l’Agence Ometz. Ses conseillers en emploi font beaucoup plus que simplement trouver des emplois pour les gens. Ils contribuent à développer une communauté et s’assurent qu’elle reste intacte et forte. Je peux raconter pendant des heures d’innombrables histoires de cousins, d’amis ou de différentes personnes qui ont dû emmener leurs familles ailleurs. Pour de nombreuses personnes, la patience est un mot qui est difficile à comprendre. Ometz les aide à en comprendre l’importance…. »

Même s’il est agréable d’avoir ces commentaires, c’est de savoir que nous pouvons faire une différence qui nous inspire à nous ré-impliquer chaque année. Notre résolution envers vous et tous ceux qui pourraient demander notre aide, est de tenir nos promesses et de s’efforcer à améliorer nos services dans toutes les manières possibles.

Bonne année – puisse-t-elle apporter une bonne santé et un sentiment d’accomplissement pour nous tous !

Onews, January 2014: A message from Gail and Howard

Howard Berger and Gail Small, Co-Executive Directors, Ometz

Howard Berger and Gail Small, Co-Executive Directors, Ometz

By Gail Small and Howard Berger, Co-Executive Directors

Happy New Year!

2014 has already set in and with it most of us have made some heartfelt resolutions that we plan to keep…only this time we really meant it!

Well Ometz is really no different!  We are a group of people who want to help and we really mean it too!

Year in, year out we try to help our fellow community members who may need assistance settling in Montreal, finding work, adapting to a family crisis or living with the challenges of school, of bereavement, of divorce, of poverty or of mental illness in a family.  These are real, daily and daunting challenges but our resolution is to offer the best possible services we can to support our clients and help them become more resilient.

At Ometz we have made a promise to our clients -   to deliver accessible, personalized, and culturally-sensitive human services, founded on Jewish values, and to be responsive, compassionate, engaged, innovative and inspiring. We try to deliver on that promise every day.

We cannot do this alone and in truth we are not alone. As they say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts – and our parts include a Board of 15 passionate  volunteers; a staff of 100 devoted professionals;  and close to 400 volunteers who mentor, tutor, drive, deliver, source out donors for missing items for needy clients and generally make themselves available for whatever needs to be done.

So how are we doing? Here is a note that we received just before the holidays.

From Josh

“Finding a job would have been nearly impossible without the help of Ometz. Its Employment counselors do a lot more than simply find jobs for people. They help develop communities as well as assure that communities remain intact and strong. I can go on for hours recounting countless stories about cousins, friends or various other individuals who had to take their families elsewhere. For many people, patience is a word that is hard to understand. Ometz helps people understand the importance of that word …. “

While it’s nice to get this feedback, it is the knowledge that we can make a difference that inspires us to re-dedicate ourselves anew each year. Our resolution to you and all who may seek our help, is to fulfill our promises and to strive to better our services in every way we can.

Happy New Year – may it bring  good health and a sense of fulfillment for us all.

Job Search Musings: blog it out!

 

by Sharon Bishin, Corporate & Employability Trainer

My colleagues and I just returned from the Cannexus 14 National Career Development Conference in Ottawa which was attended by more than 750 participants.One message was very clear: job search in the future will look different.  Job seekers – particularly the more mature ones – will have to reframe their ideas of the workplace. They will not be able to assume stability, pension plans or static competencies.  Instead, all forms of technology and social media will continue to grow  - relationships,  connections and change are paramount.  Also, while many jobs we might have held in the past will disappear, so will new jobs emerge that we may not even be able to imagine today.

Two other themes also stood out for me. The first related to accepting the trajectory of a career, even if it is unexpected, often random and certainly not smoothly straight. This idea was supported by keynoters Journalist Valerie Pringle and Educator Rich Feller and was articulated in Social Media guru Mitch Joel’s book Ctrl Alt Delete.  As Joel notes in the book, “Why should your career today be based on a decision you made at age 16 with your high school guidance counselor?” Our career paths look more different and are less linear now — they squiggle instead! We need to embrace this in our lives.”

The second concept was about “Stories”and “Spark”, presented by UBC’s Norm Amundson.  It reminded me that those of us who are facilitators need to help our clients validate their journeys  – or stories. And we need to make sure we keep our own energy  – or spark – high enough to inspire those around us.

Today, it is becoming more and more commonplace to use blogging to reflect on these concepts as well as for expression, connection and promotion.  You are responsible to fully articulate what value you bring to the table; some marketers call that developing your “Me, Inc” profile.  Perhaps blogging is one way to get there.  We know it is an important tool so we have added two levels (1 & 2) of Blogging instruction to our February Ometz calendar: http://bit.ly/1aSgHE9 and http://bit.ly/19xeTSq.

Check them out. Jump on tomorrow’s wagon. Embrace the day.

 

Are you financially savvy?

By Susan Karpman, Director, Community Services and Immigration

Susan Karpman, Director, Community Services and Immigration, Ometz

Susan Karpman, Director, Community Services and Immigration, Ometz

If you save a penny and double it each day, how much will you have at the end of the month? Don’t peak; the answer is at the end of this article. This piece of trivia may help you make small talk, but it’s the same principle that explains why it will take 317 months to pay off your $1000 credit card bill if you pay the minimum 2% each month. We at Ometz want to help people, especially young people, learn financial basics. But as a social service agency, we want to help you achieve much more. Financial capacity building provides the foundation for making decisions, understanding values and priorities and helping you get where you want to go. Ometz wants to help you gain knowledge which can lead to changes in behaviour which can lead to changes in life.

What does this mean?  Let’s look at 5 strategies towards being financially savvy.

  1. Make a budget – know what it costs you to live. This exercise alone is an enormous first step to understanding how to manage your financial life.
  2. Pay yourself first – once your very basic needs are covered, save! Force savings through payroll deduction, automatic withdrawals, etc.    Read “The Wealthy Barber”.  David Chilton’s message is simple and very effective: pay yourself first, start now, live within your means.
  3. Pay down debt. Canadians owe $1.64 for every dollar they earn. The cost of this debt is enormous and crippling. Lower credit card limits. Try to stick to cash-based spending. Distinguish between what you need and what you want.
  4. Invest in yourself. Education, training can move you to a new place on the road to financial success.
  5. Plan your retirement and estate. 58% of boomer-aged women have less than $10,000 in retirement savings! Make sure you have a will and that you have designated beneficiaries for your RRSP’s or other assets.  

Knowledge plus skills plus support can lead to change and healthier individuals and families.  And that’s the definition of what Ometz does. Oh yes, the trivia answer: its one million dollars!