In 2009, Bob Chua heard about CultureLink at a job centre. He was told that CultureLink offered programs for newcomers, and learned about one particular program that paired a newcomer with a local Canadian, a match that was meant to help the newcomer adapt to their new country.
When Bob signed up for the program, he was given the option to select an individual or a family. He chose a family friend so that he could involve his family of 4 in adjusting to their new environment.
“My name is Bob Chua. I came to Canada from the Philippines with my wife and our two sons. At the time I participated in CultureLink’s mentorship program, I had been in communications technologies for over 20 years internationally. My wife was an experienced banker while my children were in grade school.
John Schofield is the person I was paired with. He is an independent writer and we got introduced to him, his wife and son, who until now remain family friends. We find this friendship to be priceless as we go through life’s challenges that don’t distinguish between races, gender, age, or any other differences.
I salute CultureLink, its programs and program workers. They invest time and effort in helping the integration of new immigrants. They provide inspiration at times when things can be so overwhelming, frightening and lonely for newcomers like me and my family. All of us will forever be grateful for this experience.”
Bob’s mentor, John speaks of the special bond they have built over the years.
“I have felt privileged to meet Bob and Helen and their wonderful sons and to watch them build their new lives in Canada. Witnessing their courage, resilience, faith and hard work has been amazing. In the process, Bob and I have built a special friendship that has stood the test of time. As best we can, we have helped each other face the inevitable challenges of life and we have celebrated the victories. I never expected to gain a lifelong friendship when I became a CultureLink volunteer – but that’s what Bob and I have forged, and it has truly been a blessing!”