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Community Services Committee (CSC) – Monthly Blog – Reflections on February Events

Talk English Café Reflection – ACCES Employment, Scarborough

By Gina Chetram

ACCES Employment is a non-profit organization, dedicated to providing employment services to qualified employees from diverse backgrounds who are experiencing barriers to employment, to integrate into the Canadian job market. With five locations across the GTA, ACCES offers many programs and services for employers and employees.

On February 19th, 2019, six members from the Rotaract Club of Toronto had the privilege to participate in one of the programs offered by ACCES Employment – The Talk English Café at the Scarborough location. The Talk English Café is designed to provide newcomers to Canada with the opportunity to practice and hone their English conversational and workplace communication skills in an informal setting to succeed in the Canadian work environment.

The activities were led by ESL instructor Chelsea. The evening began by Rotaract members introducing themselves; we were asked to say our names, the reason we joined the Rotaract Club and to list one interesting fact about ourselves. During our introductions, some of the key terms used by the Rotaract Members were written on the whiteboard and explain by Chelsea.

After the introductions, the Rotaract members were separated into different sections of the room, where the participants had the opportunity to have conversations with us. The participants would converse with members for ten minutes; then they were asked to switch to another Rotaract member and repeat the exercise again. The conversations were based on a wide range of topics which includes; poetry, engineering, finance and travelling, etc.

We concluded the evening by gathering together as a group to listen to the feedback from the participants and Rotaract members.

Personally, I loved volunteering at the Talk English Café. Being an immigrant to Canada myself, I understand what it is like to be in their shoes, the culture shock, the difficulty of searching for jobs and connecting with other people. It was my greatest pleasure to have the opportunity as a Rotaract member to give back and help people from various backgrounds to improve their English speaking skills and become one step closer to achieving their dreams.

FYFB (Feb 23)

By Gina Chetram On Saturday, February 23rd, 2019, I have the privilege of leading my fellow Rotaractors at the monthly Fort York Food Bank. It was my first time leading an event as a member of the Rotaract Club of Toronto. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with several members of the clubs and also to develop my leadership skills.

The day began with the shift one; the team members were Lu, Diego, Buse, Ali, Amrah, Kimberly and myself under the directions from our Rotarian Head Chef Errol.

Shift one which begins at 8:30 and ends at 11:45am is responsible for the preparation of the ingredients, and the cooking of the food to be served by Shift two. We prepared several dishes; the protein dishes were sausages, vegetarian curry, chicken nuggets and meat sauce; side dishes included rice, pasta, glazed carrots, broccoli, etc.

After the completion of the scrumptious dishes, the team set cleaned up and set the necessary equipment up for the serving of the dishes to the patrons.

At 11:45 am, when the members of shift two arrived, they exchanged places with the shift one members. Our shift two was bigger than normal, as we were expecting a visit from members of the Fanshawe Rotaract Club. Shift two consisted of 12 members. There were seven members from the Fanshawe Club, three members from our club, Ryan, Olena and myself and two members from the community, Nick and Kim. Together as a team, we were able to serve 121 meal to the patrons. After serving the meals, we cleaned up and left the food bank at 2pm.

Personally, I learned a lot from this experience. I got to see the event from the leadership perspective, which challenging but very rewarding. The challenges faced were dealing with different personalities and managing a large group so that everyone feels included. The rewarding part of the experiences is getting to communicate and build bonds with my peers. I did not do this even alone; I asked advice from my follow Rotaractors when things seemed too much. Diego was wonderful on the first shift; he reminded me of the importance of relaxing and not letting the pressure get to me. Olena on shift two reminded me that it is okay to delegate tasks and oversee rather than always being involved.

Thank you Rodayna for giving me this opportunity. I am so grateful for because it not only gave me the opportunity to develop my leadership skills, but it allowed me the chance to really connect and learn from my colleagues and see things from different perspectives.

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