L-R - Don McKay, John Lessif, Barbara Milanovich, Donnett Mattis-Deley, Karen Oldroyd, Ernie Hardeman, Margaret Lupton, Pat Sobeski
County celebrates immigration with launch of settlement services
There's a helping hand for new immigrants to Oxford County.
Today, the launch of Settlement Services was celebrated at the County Admin Building. Community Employment Services is the provider of Settlement Services, through the Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration.
Over the last 6-months, Settlement Services Worker, Karen Oldroyd has been working with newcomers to the community to help them find jobs, local services, and even explaining our cultural differences. "Things like education and employment, transportation, clothing. Some people come to the community with nothing and with little resources, so I'm that person that can meet with them to lead them in the right direction."
Oldroyd says they come from all over, from Korea, Columbia, Pakistan and even Africa. "It has been very successful. Out of the 28 individuals I have met with 18 of them are employed. One is volunteering at our Community Health Centre, two are in training looking at jobs that are in high demand in Ontario, and five of them are in the ESL (English at a Second Language) program at Blossom Park."
Karen's first client was Donnett Mattis-Deley, who came with her husband and two children from Jamaica. Shortly after they arrived, Donnett's husband had to return to Jamaica for business, leaving her looking for work. Karen worked with Donnett to help spruce up her resume, and she landed a job working at Scotiabank in Woodstock. Donnett tells Heart FM, "It was like a continuation to what I did in Jamaica. Yes, we did have a different system, so I had to learn the system here, which I did in a short while. But it felt like home."
Donnett described Karen as being like a big sister to her. "That's how personal it was. Sometimes when I came to Karen, it felt like I was her only client. That's how she treated me."
On her move to Oxford County as a whole, Donnett says she's "felt welcomed, felt like family."