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Before my first encounter with my student, I felt nervous and excited. Volunteering with a student was something that I’ve always wanted to do but I never had enough courage to actually follow throu...
Before my first encounter with my student, I felt nervous and excited. Volunteering with a student was something that I’ve always wanted to do but I never had enough courage to actually follow through. After taking the appropriate measures, I was finally paired up with an individual.
My first time meeting her went better than expected. She was a little bit shy, but I immediately felt a connection to her. She was quiet but laughed a lot, and did not have much confidence in the subject of French. I believe I connected with her so well because she reminded me of myself when I was her age. It was clear to see her weakness and lack of confidence when it came to reading French. This was the focus of our sessions every time we met. The first encounter where we focused reading and grammar, she struggled at pronouncing the what-seemed-to-be complicated phrases. Each session we had together, I would teach her easy tricks to remember. Her favorite trick that seemed to stick with her was taking a tough word and breaking it down into different sections to pronounce.
It was truly incredible to see the difference from our first session to our last. She went from being a discouraged little girl who blossomed into a confident student. I was amazed at her accomplishments and I can’t help but feel proud of myself as well. It is a wonderful feeling knowing that I had such a positive impact on somebody. hide
As a student who loves school and learning, I have always felt a desire to pass that onto others. This prompted me to get involved with Ometz a few years back, when I started working with a young girl...
As a student who loves school and learning, I have always felt a desire to pass that onto others. This prompted me to get involved with Ometz a few years back, when I started working with a young girl starting grade 4. Our Sunday morning meetings consisted mainly of reading books together – something I looked forward to doing each week. While school got in the way of my commitment to tutoring back then, I decided to take it up again recently. This time I got paired with a girl older than the first, studying Health Sciences in CEGEP. Having completed that same program myself, I was really looking forward to starting with her and passing on my love of sciences. We began meeting weekly at the library, where we worked together on calculus, chemistry and physics.
It did not take very long for me to realize that I had been paired with somebody very special. While she was having trouble with the majority of her science classes, due mainly to a lack of previous experience with the subject matter, she refused to give up and only continued to work harder as we worked together. She continued to amaze me each lesson; she not only reviewed in advance and came prepared with questions, but also continually showed and voiced how excited she was to be learning the topics and working together. She was completely appreciative to be receiving the help, as well as eager to learn everything and more so that she could continue working on her own later on.
This student demonstrates remarkable potential for success and it was incredibly rewarding to be able to work together to make sure that this potential was reached. Ometz provided me with an opportunity to be a teacher, a mentor and a friend. This proved to be an amazing learning experience for both the student and myself, as we worked together to master the material and build her confidence in her ability to do well. I was also given the opportunity to build a friendship that I never would been able to otherwise. This was truly a special experience and I now encourage my friends and family to take on similar opportunities in the community. hide
When I first met James in October, he was a quiet, slightly nervous 7 year old. Although he wasn’t struggling academically, his confidence and motivation needed some work. We started by tackling ...
When I first met James in October, he was a quiet, slightly nervous 7 year old. Although he wasn’t struggling academically, his confidence and motivation needed some work. We started by tackling his French homework together: primarily learning new dictée words and reading books. It wasn’t long before I discovered James’ true goofy, bouncy, and inquisitive self. I quickly realized that our time together couldn’t only be spent sitting at a table doing homework – it was going to have to be a lot more fun and exciting than that. We took breaks to visit Shelley, the library’s pet turtle, which would always spark discussions about our favourite animals, movie characters, and more. We made it a routine to play hangman at the end of every session, where we incorporated words and phrases that we had learned and talked about that day. To make reading more enjoyable, we put on funny voices and acted out what the characters were saying, which almost always ended with James laughing hysterically at his own silliness. When we started working together, I thought the main outcomes of this experience would be an improvement in James’ French skills. However, it ended up being so much more than that.
By April, James had improved substantially in his reading and writing skills. However, even more importantly, his confidence in his ability to do his homework grew. Eventually, when James would spell a dictée word right or pronounce a sentence correctly, he would throw his hands in the air and do a happy dance, claiming that it was all so easy and that he was awesome at French. This sense of accomplishment motivated him to push through his homework and get it done – with hardly any complaining!
Working with James for seven months had an equal, if not larger, impact on me. As most of my experience with kids comes from my time spent as a counselor at an all-girls summer camp, this increased my comfort working with boys and provided me with the opportunity to gain experience working with kids in an academic setting. Working with James also gave me an appreciation for different learning styles and allowed me to become more creative, innovative, and patient. Watching James learn and grow – in French, maturity, and height – has been such a rewarding experience. I know that he will only continue to thrive from here! hide
Several months ago, I joined the ranks of parents who are searching for employment opportunities for their capable young adult children who happen to have an intellectual disability. My CLSC caseworke...
Several months ago, I joined the ranks of parents who are searching for employment opportunities for their capable young adult children who happen to have an intellectual disability. My CLSC caseworker provided a list of organizations that provide these opportunities, or assist in the search of said opportunities. This list brought the JEM Workshop to my attention, which in turn, led me to Ometz.
My son, Elijah, and I initially visited the JEM Workshop and thought the environment would be an ideal setting for his first ‘real job’. Our contact person at Ometz was Gina Zagari from Support Employment Services. Gina was extremely helpful. She supplied the required paperwork, promptly returned all phone calls and emails and thoroughly explained the hiring process. This allowed me to be able to give my son an idea of what to expect from beginning to end – this is very important when working with individuals on the Autism Spectrum. Much of his anxiety was put to rest. When I told him Gina would be at his job interview he gave me a big smile – I could tell he felt more at ease.
I feel confident that Ometz will be there to provide assistance in the future, if needed. I have recommended and will continue to highly recommend Ometz to others. Organizations such as Ometz are vital to our community. As I explained to Gina, my job is to knock on as many doors as possible hoping that one will open and lead to an opportunity that will contribute to my son’s personal growth, while allowing him to prove to himself and others that he is capable of making a contribution to our community.
My husband and I have watched Elijah’s self-esteem and self-confidence increase beyond measure. He is excited and incredibly happy to go to work, and exudes pride when telling me about his work day each afternoon. I feel extremely blessed that I was led to Ometz’s door. My family and I thank you. hide
It was a fall afternoon when Sam and I had our first session at Ometz. We sat across from each other, and the “too cool for school” attitude filled the room. He did not bring a backpack, pencil ca...
It was a fall afternoon when Sam and I had our first session at Ometz. We sat across from each other, and the “too cool for school” attitude filled the room. He did not bring a backpack, pencil case, or any school work. Over my past three years as a volunteer for the Ometz Taylor Adolescent Program, I have come across many students - each with their unique challenges and undeniable progress. However, there has been no journey as exciting as the one I am on right now. When I started working with Sam, his attendance was less than regular, and when he did come it took a lot of convincing to get him to work; he never remembered my name and appeared disinterested. I remained hopeful, because I saw huge potential in him. As each Tuesday and Thursday session went by, we began forming a relationship – getting to know one another better. The bond we had started building evoked progress, and Sam finally started bringing in his school work.
The progress began with one single worksheet. He pulled it out of his backpack, wrinkled and torn, and I could not have been happier. I never thought high school science would bring me so much joy. This was so much more than just a paper that he threw in the bottom of his bag; this was Sam’s first step towards taking control of his academic life and becoming an autonomous, independent learner. Over the course of the past few months, since the very first work sheet, our sessions have been filled with many worksheets, the occasional binder, cue cards, and even a textbook.
While these actions may seem trivial to others, these are huge steps for Sam. Many things in his life remain unstable and difficult, and it is a tremendous feat for him to focus on his academic life amidst all these struggles. Nonetheless, he comes into Ometz smiling, with hilarious stories and a “just cool enough for school” attitude. Not only does he remember my name, but we have developed a strong bond. We laugh, study, work on strategies, talk about his hardships, and he occasionally teaches me the newest and coolest dance moves.
The relationship I have with Sam has grown and evolved, and it is mutually beneficial. I am learning so much from him, and he is improving in terms of his responsibility and organization. I am thankful that the Ometz Taylor Adolescent Program is somewhere he can come to get a hot meal, feel safe and comfortable, and hopefully realize his full potential. It has been exciting, occasionally overwhelming, but at the end of the day, extremely gratifying to work with him. I know that this has been a very formative experience for me, and I believe the work we have accomplished together has done a lot of good for him, and that he will only continue to grow. hide
My internship at Ometz has been an incredible opportunity for me to grow professionally and to learn career planning and job search essentials needed to pursue my bigger goals. The skills I learned in...
My internship at Ometz has been an incredible opportunity for me to grow professionally and to learn career planning and job search essentials needed to pursue my bigger goals. The skills I learned in every project I had been assigned to, proved to be a valued addition to my professional and academic achievements. Under the guidance of Katherine Korakakis from the ProMontreal Entrepreneurs program, I was able to develop many of my journalistic and entrepreneurial skills by running and participating in various projects, from writing assignments to project management. Lori Rubinger and Sharon Bishin from Ometz Training Services allowed me to expand my professional horizons by assigning me with teaching duties and research projects. Galina Kesserwan from Ometz Employment Services has guided me in every step of my CV development, which allowed me to build a competitive resume for potential employers.
Overall, all the skills I acquired helped me secure a 1st choice placement with every employer for which I interviewed for my academic co-op requirement. As a result, I am doing my first co-op stage in Communications at Pratt & Whitney Canada . Thank you to all my co-workers at Ometz for inspiring me and providing guidance in my personal and professional development. hide
A few years ago, I had left my last job as an educator, feeling burnt out and disillusioned by my experience working for a non-profit organization that seemed to have lost sight of its true mission. A...
A few years ago, I had left my last job as an educator, feeling burnt out and disillusioned by my experience working for a non-profit organization that seemed to have lost sight of its true mission. After taking some time to rest and recover, I was ready to begin my quest to find, not only meaningful work, but with a team that truly collaborated; where I might at last set down some roots.
I approached Ometz because I had heard good things about the agency, and a good friend of mine had found a job with the guidance of their employment department. I decided to offer my services as a volunteer, hoping to get to know the agency better, and I had the opportunity to meet with Carol Liverman from Ometz School Services. After listening to Carol’s enthusiastic description of the Junior MYP Program, and the research, planning and generous donations that make it possible, I was more than ready to give a few hours a week to helping elementary students with their homework. The program turned out to be so much more than a homework program, and I enjoyed playing games, doing yoga and sharing meals with the children receiving this service.
Summer came, and the Junior MYP Program ended until the fall. I started volunteering for the Ometz Employment Services, assisting an older gentleman who wanted to learn French to improve his chances of finding work. Then, one day, I received an unexpected and very welcome call from Joanne Baskin of Ometz School Services, asking if I’d like to have an interview for a School Worker position. This felt like a dream come true, and proved to be the beginning of an amazing and sometimes challenging odyssey. After three years, I still think I’ve only scrapped the surface of all that this organization does for the Jewish community and beyond.
As it turns out, though, this was not the end of my personal quest to set down some vocational roots. I am now the Student Services Coordinator for a private Jewish school, and while leaving Ometz was not an easy decision, the lines of communication have remained opened, and I continue to have the pleasure of collaborating with Ometz staff. When I first began my work with school children, I hoped I would somehow have all the skills and knowledge I needed to help children attain their full potential. I have since learned from the Ometz team that I don’t have to do this important work by myself; I am part of something greater, and every one of us has an important role to play in helping to shape young minds and prepare our children for everything that life has to offer. hide
I discovered Ometz about three years ago while studying at Dawson College. I was not familiar with Ometz, nor did I know anyone who worked there. All I had was this strong desire to begin volunteering...
I discovered Ometz about three years ago while studying at Dawson College. I was not familiar with Ometz, nor did I know anyone who worked there. All I had was this strong desire to begin volunteering and helping people in any way I could. When I came to Ometz for the first time I was introduced to Gerri Shaw from Ometz Volunteer Services, who immediately got me started with the Jr. MYP afterschool program. Jr MYP is an opportunity to tutor and mentor vulnerable students at the elementary level.
On my first day as a tutor and mentor, I was instantly impressed at how bright and clever these kids were. They were so friendly and fun, I liked them all right away. Everyone including the other mentors welcomed me with open arms, and this was when I truly knew that this was a special program and organization to be a part of.
After one semester of volunteering for Jr. MYP, I knew I did not want to stop. I applied to volunteer again, and spent the following semester tutoring and mentoring another great group of young students. I could not wait to spend time with these students on a weekly basis, being able to help them was the highlight of my day. They reminded me how great it was to be young and to have the whole world ahead of you.
Since my time volunteering for Jr. MYP, I have always spoken highly about Ometz and the people who work there. Everyone is extremely dedicated to what they do, and this has inspired me to work hard for everything I believe in. Now as a full-time student at Concordia University in Communications Studies, I am interning for the Ometz Marketing and Communications department, and there is no other place I would rather be. hide
We came here from the Ukraine in 2010 and found Ometz in 2011. I knew about Ometz’s services before because my sister was using them. Ometz and in particular, Galina Kesserwan, helped me a lot. Gal...
We came here from the Ukraine in 2010 and found Ometz in 2011. I knew about Ometz’s services before because my sister was using them.
Ometz and in particular, Galina Kesserwan, helped me a lot. Galina helped me with employment. She helped me with my CV, guided me through the process of looking for a job and encouraged me, which brought up my self-confidence.
Ometz was always great. Galina brought my confidence back when I was really lost. She helped me with employment and encouraged me to get the job I wanted. hide
As an International Business student at John Molson, you’re taught the great importance of networking. Knowing incredible people and really spreading the word that I was looking for a summer job ena...
As an International Business student at John Molson, you’re taught the great importance of networking. Knowing incredible people and really spreading the word that I was looking for a summer job enabled me to learn about Ometz and immediately want to become affiliated. However, it was only while working there did I truly get to learn the real meaning of dedication.
I was able to work in Employment Services and that meant supporting the employment specialists with various tasks. Whether it be writing up candidate profiles for clients, following up on jobs with employers, or writing job postings on the Ometz website, I was most proud of watching how everyone’s tasks and efforts came together to place people looking for employment. It was so amazing to see the excitement of the employment specialists when they had placed someone. They are so dedicated to their clients and feel this immense need to help, which is why I can honestly say that I have never worked with such selfless and hardworking people before my time at Ometz.
I learnt so much from the women I worked with and if I were to take just one lesson with me it would be to love the work you do and help people along the way. It doesn’t matter what line of work you’re in, there’s always an opportunity to help and there are always people in need of it. For this reason exactly, Ometz will continue to thrive and offer help to those in need. I believe the future of the Jewish community is in great hands and my time at Ometz has really solidified this belief. hide