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Bringing Strategy to Life: Shelley talks to Social Impact Advisors - Sally & Lynn

Impact is a show about changemakers getting things done. Sally Fazal and Lynn Fergusson of Social Impact Advisors talk to NGO leaders, philanthropists, social entrepreneurs and environmental innovators about their goals and how they’re reaching them.

In this episode, Sally interviews our Executive Director, Shelley Zuckerman, about the process of defining North York Community House’s intended impact in the community and the changes the organization needed to undertake to achieve this impact.

Click on the link below to listen to the entire podcast:



Eugene: A NYCH Success Story

Eugene came to Canada from the Philippines in 2014, and joined our Employment program to get support in his job search. We asked him about his experience at NYCH – the obstacles he had to overcome, what he learned, and his plans for the future.

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced upon arriving in Canada? 

A: The first struggle that we faced here was, “where do we start?” I mean, this is a new country; new everything. I don’t have a job. I don’t have family or relatives. I don’t have anything.

And then, when searching for a job, it was so frustrating because they always asked me about ‘Canadian experience’. I was a senior accountant…but when I came here it was so hard…they didn’t accept me. They were always telling me, “you need Canadian experience”; “your education must be upgraded”; “you education must be evaluated.”

Q: Which NYCH program did you join?

A: The program that I was involved with at NYCH was about Employment – which was the best that I could have. This is my struggle, about employment, and this is the help that NYCH gave to me – how to prepare yourself for the interview, making a resume, etc.

Q: What did you gain through NYCH programs?

A: I gained a lot at NYCH – but I want to specify about how I “gained myself”. Of all the struggles I’ve been through, NYCH pushed me to be a better person, to be strong enough, to face the struggles that I’ve been through.

I’m proud of being one of the people that NYCH helped. Because it helped a lot to know that this struggle is not a struggle – it is a part of who we are in the future. It is a part of our goal. I landed here in Canada for my dream to be successful – but the road to success is not an easy road. So this is the best thing that North York Community House gave to me. To learn how to be stronger – to achieve your goal even when the struggle is there. I’m proud of it.

Q: Is there an experience at NYCH that stands out in your memory?

A: The best memory is when they opened their doors, and they opened their arms, and they said, “we can help you.” I felt like I was in my home. Because the Philippines is very, very far away from here – and this community is like a home.

Q: What are your plans/goals for the future?

Eugene, NYCH participant

A: My goal is to raise up my family. To give a better future for my children. Because as time goes by, this is the best country that we can raise our children for bright futures. 

I know this country is growing, so my goal is also to add some [pauses]... If they need my talent to be a part of the growth of this country or this community, I will share my talent. 

Then, the most important thing is how you are as a person. So, my goal is to be a better person…to help people, to give back what I got before. Just to give back.



Andreina: A NYCH Success Story

Meet Andreina. Originally from Venezuela, she lived in Spain while studying for her MBA - and ultimately, decided to settle in Canada with her husband in March 2016. 

We asked Andreina about her journey as a newcomer to Canada, and how her experience at NYCH has helped her achieve her goals. This is what she had to say:

Q: What were some of the challenges you faced upon arriving in Canada? What were your goals?

A: We came with a lot of dreams but also with fears, because we had never been to Canada before. We didn't know if we were going to like the country, or the weather, and we had savings for few months. Also, we had impressive CVs, but no Canadian experience and we had to improve our English. Our challenge was to find a job related to our professional experience, so we had to adapt our CVs according to the positions we were applying, as well as prepare ourselves for the interviews.

Q: How did you hear about NYCH? Which programs were you involved in?

We had to improve our English level so we read on the Internet that we should take the CLB test before applying to free ESL courses for newcomers. So, we went to YMCA at the Finch location, and then we met with a representative who recommended NYCH services for newcomers

The following week, we met with Lucy from NYCH and she explained to us all of the options we had available. We decided to enroll in the NYCH Employment Success Workshop with Annie and we went to the English Conversation Circle at North York Central Library. The next month, we also enrolled in the ELT Sales and Marketing Program, as well as the OSLT Entrepreneurship and Marketing Program at George Brown College - following the recommendations we received from Lucy. We were incredibly busy but definitely committed to achieve our goals.

Q: What did you gain through NYCH programs? Which achievements are you most proud of? 

NYCH programs gave us an orientation and the confidence we needed to go forward. They worked along with us on the path we had to follow. Particularly, the NYCH Employment Success Workshop gave us the structure we were looking for to start our job applications. Also, the NYCH English Conversation Circle, as well as the ELT and OSLT courses recommended by NYCH, were key factors to gain confidence with our English level. 

In all of these programs, we could meet other newcomers with similar experiences and goals; we learned how we could transfer our previous professional experience, studies and skills; and we understood the expectations for CVs, cover letters and job interviews to finally get our first jobs in Canada. 

Now, we just had our first anniversary in Canada and we are very proud of what we have achieved so far. All of the support we received and all of the effort we did was worthwhile. In just 6 months after we came to Canada, both of us were working in our professional areas. My husband started working as Business Analyst and I got a job as Digital Account Coordinator. 

Q: Is there a person/program/experience at NYCH that stands out in your memory?

A: We are very grateful for Lucy Santos and Annie Sun from NYCH. They gave us a lot of ideas and recommendations, as well as the next steps we should follow - and it helped to build the confidence we were needing. 

Q: What are your plans/goals for the future?

A: We want to gain more experience and continue improving our English. But now, we are sure that our future is here in Canada.

Learn more about the programs and services NYCH offers to new Canadians



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IMPACT: Settlement in Schools & Libraries

Imagine you've just moved to Canada from another country: you need to look for a place to live, find a job, learn how to get around, and if you have kids, enroll them in a nearby school...and that's just the tip of the iceberg.

This is the start of your new life. 

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