Montreal – The place where my dreams came true!

By Yanina Savenko

I came to Montreal from Moscow in 2007. This was the first move I had ever made in my life. I came to Montreal because I fell in love with this city when I first visited it in 2005 as a tourist. Moreover, Quebec has its own emigration program which is much faster than the federal one. While it took me only one and a half years to complete the emigration process, some of my friends had been waiting for five or six years to get a permit to move to an English-speaking province. Meanwhile, it is very hard to wait for the answer and not being able to make plans for the future…

Back home, I achieved a Master’s degree in psychology and psycho-education and had a job I felt passionate about. Although I had achieved so much, emigration was a thought that was never far from my mind. I dreamt of a country with a stronger commitment to human rights, safety, transparency and peaceful multiculturalism. I arrived in Montreal ready to start a new life.

At the time of my arrival, I didn’t know about the Jewish community and its different agencies and services. I was first introduced to Ometz as a volunteer. This was an opportunity for me to give back to my new community and meet new people, practice my French and English and gain valuable Canadian experience. Very soon after that, I became an Ometz client and met Yael Soussana, my settlement counsellor. She helped me become part of the Jewish community, introducing me to the Ometz Young Adults Group. I was participating in the holiday celebrations, parties and trips. These gave me the opportunity to discover the city and meet other newcomers and local Montrealers. I started learning about Judaism. My fiancé and I were welcomed to the Shaare Zion Synagogue, where we discovered the beauty of many Jewish traditions, such as Shabbat, kashrut and the holidays.

At Ometz, I also met with an employment counsellor and attended employment workshops such as CV Writing and Introduction to the Montreal Job Market. I felt more confident because the agency provided me with a lot of support in my job search. When I decided to continue my professional development by registering in a Certificate in Speech Intervention Techniques at College Tav, I received a scholarship from Ometz.

It has been more than three years now that I work as a special needs educator in early childhood intervention at Yaldei Developmental Center. I work one-on-one with children who have various developmental delays, autism and genetic disorders. Aside from my regular job, my husband and I started a small transportation company. Recently, we’ve applied and received a $40,000 business loan through Ometz’s ProMontreal Entrepreneurship Fund in order to expand our business. We are grateful that they helped us pursue our dream!

In four short years, I accomplished many of my most important dreams: Montreal became my new home, I discovered my Jewish identity, found a job that I love, started a business, got married and am expecting our first child.

I would like to thank Agence Ometz for always being there for me, providing me with tangible support and encouragement. This is important for any newcomer especially when one has no family in Canada. The thing that touched me the most, aside from the services I received from Ometz, was the human touch; I felt like I was not alone.

Agence Ometz delivers services to low-income families, those individuals seeking employment, families in need, as well as assisting new immigrants to establish themselves in Montreal.

Visit Agence Ometz online: http://www.ometz.ca/

Federation CJA allocated $4,412,000 to Agence Ometz, including its poverty relief fund.

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