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I originally came to Ometz to find a job. I met with Natalie Lang, an employment counselor, and she was fantastic. She detailed the job search process and showed me exactly how to help myself, includi...
I originally came to Ometz to find a job. I met with Natalie Lang, an employment counselor, and she was fantastic. She detailed the job search process and showed me exactly how to help myself, including providing great tips for polishing my resume. She essentially facilitated everything.
There wasn’t one particular moment that stands out because the overall experience was a positive one. It just made me feel more secure in my job search knowing that I had someone I could depend on. I could call Natalie or email her and she always responded.
I also took French courses at Ometz in order to perfect my French. Mario, our teacher, is one of the best teachers I’ve ever had. He made everything about the class enjoyable - a truly wonderful academic experience. After taking the first class at Ometz I immediately signed up for a second one because I had enjoyed it that much. Mario’s curriculum was disciplined, focused and driven. He had a course outline, gave us homework, and constantly encouraged us. He made us want to be better students and to make him proud. His humor was just a bonus!
I recommend Ometz to everyone who I think would benefit from any of their services. hide
Arlene Fels was born with a disability that could have prevented her from obtaining meaningful work. Her perseverance and positive attitude towards life led her to JVS, where she was employed for 19 y...
Arlene Fels was born with a disability that could have prevented her from obtaining meaningful work. Her perseverance and positive attitude towards life led her to JVS, where she was employed for 19 years. Arlene has since retired, and she is now involved with creating and funding a program at Ometz called “The Arlene Fels Work Experience”, which helps individuals living with disabilities find jobs. Through her donation, Arlene has enabled us to provide work subsidies in order to incentivize employers to hire someone with a disability. We interviewed Arlene about her time at Ometz (formerly Jewish Vocational Services) and why she decided to give back to Ometz in such an impactful way.
“I started working as a volunteer at Jewish Vocational Services in 1980, where I helped with filing and sometimes helping the receptionist find the files of JVS clients. I liked it a lot and was very happy, so JVS hired me. I worked at JVS from 1980-1999. My parents were so proud of me for having that job. When I retired, I felt a little bit sad to leave but also happy because of what I had accomplished. Now, my family is gone and I’m the only one left, so having the connection to Ometz is very important to me.
I feel personally that Ometz is important because it gives people the opportunity to find jobs, like they helped me find a job. The most important thing was that I loved the people that worked with me, and I hope others can get that opportunity as well.” hide
I always thought I would have a lifelong career working with children, but the more I did it, the less I enjoyed it. I hated the idea that one day I may start to resent the children, so I knew I neede...
I always thought I would have a lifelong career working with children, but the more I did it, the less I enjoyed it. I hated the idea that one day I may start to resent the children, so I knew I needed to find a different career path. My mother suggested I go to speak to Ometz (JEM at the time) to try to find some much needed guidance for my professional life.
The first counselor I met with was very nice and helped me build a strong CV. I found a job, but it didn’t last because I wasn’t happy. A couple years later, I went back to Ometz and met with Natalie for the first time. I truly felt she understood my personality and my passions. She was able to guide me towards the realization that I was meant to be in sales. I always thought that my outgoing personality could be a great asset for a position in sales, but Natalie made me realize that being in sales is so much more than making cold calls, and that I could truly be happy doing this type of work.
Besides all the workshops that Ometz offers, their counselors are the core of the program. Natalie went through dozens of job posts with me helping me figure out why I would work well at one position and why another job simply would not be a good fit. She helped prioritize my career needs and wants and determine aspects in which I could be lenient. She helped me focus on my strengths and learn to deal with my weaknesses. She was the career support system that I always needed and was not able to find elsewhere.
I hope I won’t have to use Ometz again for my professional life but I am very eager to recommend their support to others. Ometz has a great ability to help you figure out your place in the working world and to make sure you are fully prepared to excel.
Ometz is a great resource for the community because while everyone wants to be hard working and successful, some people have a harder time figuring out how accomplish their goals. I am thankful that Ometz gave me to tools and the guidance I needed to find a fulfilling career. hide
I first came into contact with Ometz through Concordia University. I was a student studying Human Relations as my major and Human Rights as my minor. In order to graduate, I had to partake in a fieldw...
I first came into contact with Ometz through Concordia University. I was a student studying Human Relations as my major and Human Rights as my minor. In order to graduate, I had to partake in a fieldwork practice experience. In my final year of school, an Ometz employee came into my classroom to talk about the organization. Specifically, she was recruiting someone to come in and implement their fieldwork practice at the Ometz Jr MYP program. The JR MYP afterschool program engages children to succeed by providing them academic and social support. The children are supported by volunteers, who act as mentors over the course of the year. I knew that my partner and I would not only benefit from this because it was within our Jewish community, but we would be able to implement a program that would impact the lives of these children. I am so thankful for this opportunity because it led me to apply to a position within Ometz.
When I got the job as fundraising intern, my title changed to the A Chance to Shine Chair of the Young Adult Committee. Every year, Ometz has an annual gala raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for the child services and programs that the organization provides. My employers were very open to starting a new initiative called the Shine Afterparty. We decided to create this initiative in order to engage the 18-30 age cohort of our Jewish community. I started as an intern once a week throughout the year and I got hired as a summer student so that I can work on the party full-time.
Because I was organizing the Afterparty, inevitably my proudest moment was seeing the outcome, on the night of the event. The A Chance to Shine gala was so well put together and the Shine Afterparty was a huge success. There were over 100 guests who attended the Shine Afterparty. I received so much support from the Ometz staff as well as the committee members. I could not have asked for a more fulfilling experience. I knew that the evening would be successful, if I could be confident that one guest felt inspired. The goal of the Afterparty is to create future ambassadors within Ometz and the community. Not only did people feel inspired, but I’ve received an overwhelming response from the attended guests.
Ometz is truly a special organization. What is unique about the organization is that they are open-minded to new programs and opportunities. Ometz will continue to prosper and will only grow to support more members of our community. There is still so much about Ometz that I have yet to learn. Although I will be leaving to Israel for a year to study a Master’s in Nonprofit Management and Leadership, I know that my time at Ometz is not over. hide
As a Master of Social Work student at McGill, I got to participate in a program called ICAN. Amal, the program coordinator, got in touch with Marcie at Ometz, who is now my mentor/community organizer....
As a Master of Social Work student at McGill, I got to participate in a program called ICAN. Amal, the program coordinator, got in touch with Marcie at Ometz, who is now my mentor/community organizer. Marcie then put me in contact with Janice who coordinates volunteering at Ometz, and with the help of all three of these ladies I was able to complete my ICAN fellowship at Ometz.
Ibtesam (my colleague from McGill) and I came to Ometz twice a week and got to work with kids aged 8-12. We helped them with their homework, did social activities, had dinners together, and sometimes we went to the library and we read books and played together. I’m Palestinian from Israel and I’m a therapist that works with at-risk children who struggle with mental health and disabilities. Ometz really reminded me of my country, so I felt very comfortable. When I entered the organization, I felt like I entered an organization in Israel. To hear the Hebrew and help children with their homework in Hebrew was exciting for me.
To me, it is very important to have these services. When I saw the children enter the room and saw their smiles, I felt like they were very happy to be there. Also, I don’t know how available their parents are to help with homework, so it was important to be able to sit down and help them one-on-one. There were 2 children with learning disabilities in the group, so to give them the opportunity to obtain help was very important. They became much less frustrated with their homework, and they were more comfortable to ask questions.
I appreciate what Ometz is doing. One of the most fulfilling parts for my colleagues and I was to explain rules and discipline to the children in a way they could understand. It’s so important for them to learn these skills. My only wish was that I got to spend even more time with them. The kids took about 3 weeks to warm up to us, and I felt like I didn’t have time to develop a proper relationship with them, but I would have liked to. I also would have liked to have more input in the program, but since it was already established there wasn’t much I could do. Other than that my experience was really amazing. hide
I was looking for a job about 7-8 years ago, and I was searching through traditional sources until someone suggested I see a counsellor at Ometz. I met with Cathy Grundman and we talked about my skill...
I was looking for a job about 7-8 years ago, and I was searching through traditional sources until someone suggested I see a counsellor at Ometz. I met with Cathy Grundman and we talked about my skills—I have a background in Marketing. I mentioned I was doing a lot of volunteering for the Jewish schools and synagogue, and I really love doing this type of work, so she asked if I ever thought about working in the community. I never thought of it! But just the idea sparked a relationship with Cathy and led me into a whole new area of possibilities. It was truly the light bulb moment that I needed. I thought I would end up in Marketing or maybe Development, but working as a Jewish community professional was never a door that I had considered. I don’t know if I would’ve ever come to this realization by myself.
I talked to Cathy about the different projects I had worked on, and she helped me to understand that the skills I acquired in my various volunteer activities were marketable and could be parlayed into a position. All of the planning and programing were skills that I could use in various different types of jobs. I was passionate about the Jewish community and Jewish education, so I started interviewing for different types of jobs in the Jewish community which led me to the West Island Community Center. The position was for “Coordinator for Jewish Outreach”. It was a new position and the focus was to do outreach to unaffiliated families in the West Island. I got the job and held this position for 2 years. When I was ready to move on, I had seen a posting for another position which was for Executive Director of a Reconstructionist synagogue in Montreal, so again I reached out to Cathy who was able to counsel me in preparing to apply. I felt like I needed her guidance because it was a big promotion and a big step up from my previous job, but I thought that my newly acquired skills allowed me to apply. I was then successful in being named the Executive Director of the organization, so I was there for about 4 years.
Most recently, last spring, I started to feel like I was ready to make another move, and Cathy and I discussed different options. I just recently started a new position at Shaar Hashomayim, and I’m really excited about it. So really, Ometz has been able to help me in my past 3 jobs.
Cathy has just been a really great resource and we’ve developed a nice relationship over the years. She was always very responsive and helpful and supportive. It’s not a comfortable time when you’re looking for a job, but I felt at ease with Cathy because she always handled my file with utmost discretion. She’s always had a positive attitude, and she’s been a delight.
Whenever I hear somebody who says they’re looking to make a change, my answer is always “well, why don’t you call someone at Ometz?” The counsellors at Ometz are people who have expertise in these areas. It’s the first logical step in networking and using resources. It will continue to be a resource to help people achieve their potential. There’s additional pressure on Ometz, when nowadays people are looking to switch around their jobs a couple times throughout their lives and it’s important for the counsellors to remain responsive in helping introduce people to new opportunities. Luckily they have helped me in this aspect, so I am confident in their ability to remain contemporary. hide
I am a Jordanian social work student studying abroad at McGill, and I am part of a program called the ICAN Fellowship. Part of the program’s guidelines was to become familiar with organizations in M...
I am a Jordanian social work student studying abroad at McGill, and I am part of a program called the ICAN Fellowship. Part of the program’s guidelines was to become familiar with organizations in Montreal and to explore the options for social work in the area. I chose to complete my fellowship at Ometz because I thought they had many programs with children, women, and family, and that is what I’m interested in. When I first came to Ometz, we had meetings to know more about the programs running in this organization. I was pleased with the comprehensive number of programs targeted to children. I am very passionate about working with children because they are so innocent and honest.
The program I was involved with at Ometz was an after school program. I was tasked with receiving the children and supporting them with homework. We also did activities like going to the library, playing games, and reading stories. I am particularly interested in how relationships can develop with children. If they are very shy at the beginning and they are not social, we try to get them to talk more openly. I remember that the development really progressed and as the program went on they became more positive and open to interacting. One of the children I worked with was a girl and she was very quiet and timid. Once, when I was trying to encourage her to have a conversation with me, I asked her how old she was and she said eight. My response was, “that’s funny, I’m eight too!” and she laughed at my joke and began to open up. We often use humor to get children to become more responsive.
I like the way that Ometz motivates kids to participate, especially during the long winters. It shows that the children are motivated to improve, and to make connections between one another. They become friends! Some activities we did involve the parents too and it becomes more of a community center. Sometimes we would organize family dinners for the children which were very encouraging for social development. It’s very important to have organizations like Ometz in any community. It doesn’t matter how civilized, or rich or poor, because these organizations are focal points between people and their community, and it is an opportunity to get them more involved. About Ometz particularly, I appreciate the initiative to help minority communities. I admire what you are doing here and I hope to do the same in my home country, Jordan. hide
I heard about Ometz beforehand, but I wasn’t familiar with the Small Steps camp program. I believe my wife saw an ad in one of the local papers that intrigued her to make a phone call.Small Steps wa...
I heard about Ometz beforehand, but I wasn’t familiar with the Small Steps camp program. I believe my wife saw an ad in one of the local papers that intrigued her to make a phone call.
Small Steps was a great experience for my son. Past years, he wasn’t really happy at any of the other camps he was at. We always feared the summer time, the first day of camp, and what to expect from my son. There were days when, combined with high levels of anxiety, he just did not want to go to camp. The fact that he was happy at Small Steps was monumental for us. What was really good were all the added programs that the camp offered for him for his special needs. From speech to OT, we really killed two or three or even four birds with one stone at Small Steps. That’s why it was such a great experience for us.
It’s very important that the community continues to support Ometz and Small Steps. We definitely value Ometz for my son, not only from a basic general camp experience, but also from a growing, self-help experience. Small Steps is a really integral resource for making good use out of the summer months, and combining fun and important developmental skills for kids.
I hope we can continue sending our son to Small Steps, and I can’t wait to resign up. hide
Eight years ago I was paired up with a nine year old boy named Josh. It was a spring afternoon when I got to the apartment where he was living with his mother, and it was really a shaggy set-up, quite...
Eight years ago I was paired up with a nine year old boy named Josh. It was a spring afternoon when I got to the apartment where he was living with his mother, and it was really a shaggy set-up, quite messy and in a seedy neighbourhood. Nevertheless, I walked up the stairs and I was welcomed in. I sat on the couch waiting for him, not knowing what to expect because I had never been a mentor before. I was only 24 years old at the time. A few minutes later, this little boy showed up, just coming from taking out the garbage after making dinner for his mom. This was a kid who, at nine years old, never had a male role model, and never had a father figure in his life. It immediately impressed upon me that he seemed like such a good kid, despite his situation. Over the course of those years we got to know each other and we bonded; my role was as a friend. I was somebody that he could count on, that he could call up when he wanted to talk, someone to do activities with and take his mind off things that were going on in his life. To make matters more difficult for Josh, his mother had ongoing struggles with physical and mental illness. Due to instability, he no longer lives with his mother. Instead, he gets moved around between his uncle and his grandparents.
In the beginning we met once every two weeks and we would spend an afternoon together; that lasted roughly 5 years. Today, Josh has grown into a tremendous young man with wisdom beyond his years. Our relationship has progressed and evolved as well, and I’ve often wonder whether I’ve gained more from this relationship than he has! Now Josh is in high school, and even though girls and hockey are way more exciting than I am, we still talk and hang out. I could not have done any of this without the support of Ometz, and of course, without the funding. Things like paying for school supplies, or just paying for activities that we would do together, be-it go-karting, going to the movies, hanging out, etc… Whatever we would do there was always support from Ometz, asking what else they could do to provide for us, to make his life a little bit easier, and to make our time together a little bit more enriched. Sometimes I think about how well we were paired together since we hit it off from day one and have become such great buddies. I’m sure we’ll be friends forever. hide
As the old axiom goes, “It’s a full time job finding a full time job.” I never realized how prophetic that saying would turn out to be. After 14 years with the Montreal Gazette, I felt I had ...
As the old axiom goes, “It’s a full time job finding a full time job.” I never realized how prophetic that saying would turn out to be. After 14 years with the Montreal Gazette, I felt I had the experience and the know-how to be able to find a challenging, stimulating position in sales and/or customer service. It simply wasn’t that easy. I’d been searching for full time work for months with little success. I was told I was overqualified for many positions, and lacked the necessary experience for others. Still, I was hopeful, as I had been offered many jobs which I (unfortunately) was not able to accept.
I decided to give Ometz a call. I knew their reputation preceded them. After all, they had been helping people find work for many years AND their offices were just a block from my home. What did I have to lose? I called their office on a Monday morning and left a message. They returned my call very quickly, which impressed me. I was told I’d have to fill out some forms which were to be sent to me by e-mail and return them as soon as possible. With an hour the forms had been completed and submitted. I was pleasantly surprised when someone from their office called that same day to set up an appointment for me with one of their employment counselors just a few days from then. So far, so good. I arrived at the appointed time to meet with Cathy Grundman, the specialist who had been assigned to help me. What I found when I arrived were immaculately adorned offices with a welcoming staff who were prepared to help me. Ms. Grundman turned out to be the consummate professional – warm, friendly, engaging, knowledgeable – she made me feel right at home. Searching for work is a stressful undertaking, and Ms. Grundman made me feel at ease. After some preliminary questions, she explained to me how the process worked, then suggested some changes to my resume along with some marvelous advice: “Have your resume translated into French.” She even provided me with the name of someone who could help in that regard. In hindsight, it was some of the best advice I’d ever received, and helped me immensely. I was also invited to participate in Ometz’s semi-annual “Cocktails and Conversation” event, which was to take place just a few short weeks from my initial meeting. It was a great idea – prospective employers from all over the city gather to hear prospective employees speak about themselves and their qualifications – with the goal of building a rapport leading to the possibility of interviews and eventual work. I accepted. Over the next few weeks Ms. Grundman was a great sense of help and encouragement. Whenever I had a question she answered all of my e-mails promptly, always encouraging me and offering advice. In addition to that, our group of candidates attended three workshops in order to hone and perfect our speeches, and through it all Ms. Grundman was there to help out, offer advice, and ease any trepidation that anyone might have had regarding the upcoming event. After all, public speaking isn’t for the faint of heart, and there was some apprehension among a few in our group. Ms. Grundman helped alleviate any fears anyone might have had as she explained what we were to do and what was expected of us. Many of the other Ometz staff were also present to listen to and help refine our speeches, including Lois Liverman, the Director at Ometz whose disposition can only be described as nurturing and caring. The look on her face as she offered feedback and encouragement was one of “I want to help every single person here find work right away.” Ms. Liverman’s feedback was invaluable, and helped our group through some tough periods. The 45th edition of “Cocktails and Conversation” was held on Wednesday February 11. All of the candidates spoke eloquently, and after the event I was immediately surrounded by a few prospective employers, each of them eager to ask me questions. Of the six people with whom I interacted that evening, I interviewed with three of them, and e-mailed back and forth a few times with a fourth. Overall, it was a very pleasant experience, well worth the effort. Through it all, Ms. Grundman was beaming from ear to ear. After all, she had helped us refine our speeches, and each one of us delivered without a hitch. Aside from the great experience it provided me with professionally, I made some wonderful contacts within the group of candidates – friendships that are sure to be long lasting. At the end of the evening, after all the prospective employers had left, Ms. Grundman gathered us together for one last group talk. She wrapped things up nicely by telling us we did a great job that night, and encouraged us to follow up with those we’d had contact with earlier. My overall experience with Ometz was a positive one. I had been unable to secure work before asking for help from Ometz, and from the day I entered their offices for my first meeting with Cathy Grundman to the time I accepted a position with the National Bank was exactly 7 weeks and a few days. To say that Ometz helped me out immensely would be an understatement. I hope never to find myself in the same position of having to search for work again, but if I do, I would not hesitate to return to Ometz immediately for help with my job search, and to obtain advice related to looking for work. I would highly recommend Ometz and their fabulous staff to anyone who is in need of help, whether it be related to finding work, or other issues which are described on their website. They are professionals who are ready and willing to help individuals with all types of needs. I would not hesitate to recommend this organization. hide