In our mission to facilitate the active participation and integration of newcomers, we are committed to providing innovative programs that meet the changing needs of our clients. With that in mind, and looking at the popularity of our Artegration program (connecting newcomers with Arts and Cultural Organizations), we reached out to Saskia Rinkoff, from Harbourfront Centre, and discussed the possibility of a new partnership.
Harbourfront Centre is a cultural organization that provides internationally renowned programming in the arts, culture, education and recreation. They are located in the heart of Toronto’s downtown waterfront. Saskia is their Volunteer Manager. Her relationship with CultureLink started some years ago as a volunteer in our Career Mentorship Program. Then we worked together, when she was at Luminato (also an Artegration partner). She has always been very supportive of our efforts. Over the years, she introduced us to several organizations that became our partners.
Last June, to test the waters, we launched a pilot project of this new partnership. Early in the month, we began recruiting volunteer mentors for the program. By the end of the month, we were able to host an Orientation and Match Meeting session. Nine newcomer participants attended and met with two new mentors.
The program allows newcomers to work as volunteers in different activities hosted by the Harbourfront Centre. Under the supervision of a mentor, they gain some Canadian volunteer work experience. And the results are clear: being part of the program adds value to the resume of all participants, which helps their job search. In fact, two of them have already found jobs. And those who haven’t started working yet are speaking positively about their experience in the program and have shown appreciation for it. “I’m so happy that I chose to volunteer in Harbourfront Centre and I completed 60 hours. It has been the best experience in this summer. Thank you so much, Hashem” – Anu Khatan.
We are happy to say that, because the project was a great success, the partnership with Harbourfront Centre has been given green light to continue. While every partner of Artegration brings a special opportunity to our clients, we are excited to be able to offer newcomers volunteer opportunities all year long with Harbourfront Centre’s unique programs.