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Immigrant stories: My Canadian life experience as a new immigrant

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“I finished my classes in May 2013 and was soon given a placement with the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation for five weeks as an Account Assistant.”

Becky poses with her two sons.

On March 6, 2012 I arrived in Canada with my two boys, who were 10 and 5 years old at the time, from Botswana (which is located in the southern part of Africa). In September 2012, I started taking ESL to keep myself busy when my boys were at school, and, only a few months later, in January 2013, I started the six-month Job Preparation for International Trained Accountant and Bookkeepers program with Skills for Change, an employment services development and training organization. I finished my classes in May 2013 and was soon given a placement with the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation for five weeks as an Account Assistant.

My first five-week placement with the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation was enjoyable. The Foundation staff was friendly, loving, caring, and very supportive of one another, and especially supportive of recent immigrants. After my five-week volunteering placement with the Foundation finished, I was offered the Program Assistant position with the Grants Department. I was delighted at the offer, because I had very much enjoyed my first five weeks with the organization.

I grew up in a greenbelt area with my grandparents in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, and sometimes I miss all of those precious moments outside. Nature is so good and peaceful. I believe that by raising awareness to the province about the importance of the environment, the Foundation is helping give children and coming generations the chance to enjoy the goodness of nature, too. It makes me very excited that I am working so my boys will also have the opportunity to see and enjoy nature like I did as a young girl.

The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation not only raises awareness about protecting the environment by promoting fresh air and clean water, but they also have made life easier for some new immigrants, such as myself, who feel like they are without hope because they lack Canadian work experience. For recent immigrants, it is not easy to get an office job or even a volunteer position without relevant Canadian work experience. The Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation gives new immigrants, like myself, a fantastic opportunity to gain this valuable work experience with them by providing one-year positions, which recent immigrants gain access to new employment opportunities.

What has really amazed me about the Foundation is that when I was in distress, the staff supported me with friendly words of encouragement and their time. The VP of Marketing for the Foundation, Susan Murray has been amazing. She volunteered her personal time and resources to help me move to a new apartment. She bought me nails and a hammer, and showed me how to use them. As a single mom new to Canada, I had never used these tools before! She made a mark in my life that will never fade away in my Canadian life experience. She did more than I can imagine. I really thank God for bringing me to the Friends of the Greenbelt Foundation. I believe the Greenbelt is very special and I hope that all new Canadians get to experience it the way I have. May the coming 2015 Review be a success.

In 2012, I came to Canada for a better life for my children and me. Within 2 years of arriving, I am already working in an office, while my boys have a safe and happy home. I have gained a renewed appreciation of the value of our natural resources and the people who care enough to speak about it every day. For all new immigrants I hope they will explore what the Greenbelt has to offer in the office. I encourage new immigrants to have hope and don’t forget to pray, God will open abnormal doors of blessings with a blink of an eye.

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