One word that brought change to life: Ruth’s Story

By Victor Kwawukume

Ruth migrated to Canada with her family of three kids aged eight, 10 and 12 for greener pastures but upon arrival, pursuing her vision presented many challenges and frustrations.

But one word from a counsellor at the Centre changed her life for good.

Ruth left her home country of the Dominican Republic to start a new life here but at a point in time she became disillusioned. She did not—even once – doubt that Canada was a land of countless opportunities but upon arrival, she was “stuck and curious”.

Like an explorer on a discovery mission, she was at the crossroads and could not tell which turn to take – left or right. For her, it was a complex maze of options especially with her three children in tow.

The MNLCT Counsellor said “this is your now, but this is not your forever;” and “that was what revolutionized my mindset.” – Ruth

Then in a twist of fate she got a position as a placement student with the MNLCT where she later provided support as an intake worker. While there, she got familiar with all the programs being offered by the Centre and ultimately fell in love with the HOPES Program.

Interested as she was, she could not avail herself of the opportunity to experience the program until she completed her placement.

After completing, she was hired as an intake worker on a part-time basis but thereafter, she felt stuck and in the redolence of Oliver Twist, wanted “more”.

Although she was gaining Canadian experience in her current position, the more she examined the content of the HOPES Program, the more she hoped for more hope.

She then took the bold step and spoke to one of the counsellors so that she could “find my path in this journey”.

“I had been in Canada for two years and I wanted a full-time job. I wanted to find a job teaching or working with newcomers but there was no opportunity available. I wanted to move on, really”.

Breaking a smile, she recounted that it was a struggle for her as she wanted to move on but did not want to do the intake work anymore. “I wanted to know other careers that I could explore and wanted to find a college but couldn’t put a name on it,” she related.

When she spoke with the MNLCT counsellor, she told her that “I don’t know where to go. I feel like I am stuck. I don’t know what I want and what I can do in this country.”

The counsellor, she said, responded right away and said “Ruth, may I just add something to what you just said?”.

Then the counsellor told her that anytime she said “I don’t know anything to do”, she should add “yet” at the end of the sentence to wit “I don’t know anything to do yet.”

In a warm and lively retrospect, she said “that was what revolutionised my mindset,” especially when the counsellor added that “this is your now but this is not your forever”.

That moment with the MNLCT Counsellor, she narrated, was the defining moment and turning point in her experience in Canada.

Today, looking at her life and circumstances, Ruth says with confidence that “I can say that I was curious and stuck but my counsellor connected me with an agency.” That agency referred her to a volunteering job and while doing that job, she found her passion: She fell in love with employment counselling.

Thereafter, she went to George Brown College to study Career Development which led her to live her dream of helping newcomers in employment counselling and helping them find their path on their journey.

“Right now, I am happy to announce that I am a career development professional,” she stated with pride.

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"The Mennonite New Life Centre and its BEMC program came in very handy for me at the lowest ebb of my life by providing a lifeline and I am eternally grateful for that,”

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