The closing of 2016 was a great one at EcoEquitable as we got to end it off sharing why we love our jobs with the rest of Ottawa. The popular blog "Humans of Ottawa" did a segment on EcoEquitable interviewing Anouk Bertner, Executive Director, and Chelsea Hillier, Program Coordinator.
Anouk Bertner, Executive Director, @humans.of.ottawa
“I think, for a lot of people coming to Canada is a real cultural shock. You know, once they have taken their kids to school, and once they’ve taken their English language classes, it’s like – ok, well now what. And people don’t like to be in social assistance. I think there is this stereotype and misnomer that is like – oh you have people and they’re just taking advantage of the system, if you keep giving them money, they’ll keep on taking it. Nobody likes being on social assistants. So it’s really great to bring people in here, they start taking courses and seeing that they do have that opportunity to get employment and that they can do something that is meaningful. We talk about the hard skill of learning sewing but a lot of it is a soft skill. For a lot of people who have faced religion persecution or trauma, they don’t know what’s appropriate. So we’re part of that journey. We help them with a lot of self assessments – encouraging them to be self identified. We find people who have gone through these crazy situations and we have a lot of people in our programs who are Canadian born. So it’s really about creating a safe environment where people can be the best that they can be.”
Source: Humans of Ottawa, December 23, 2016
Chelsea Hillier, Program Coordinator, @humans.of.ottawa
“I’m the program coordinator at Eco-Equitable. I have very close relationships with the people who participate in our programs. So, if there’s struggling in their personal lives, I’m usually their main point of contact. So, that could be emotionally draining but it’s also super rewarding and I wouldn’t want it to be any other way. [...] Working here taught me that people are good. I have many issues with the way that our society deals with people who are living in poverty. I think, we stand in judgment of them so often. And standing in judgment of someone who’s living in poverty is potentially the worst thing that we can do for them. So, I think that if we can all just open our minds a little bit and see that people who are living in poverty don’t want to live in such conditions. They want to work and work hard. And sometimes they just need a little bit of support to be able to navigate the system. Because the system isn’t easy to navigate, and once you’re in the system it’s also hard to get out of it. But the people that I meet and work with every day are the most dedicated, motivated, and hardworking people that I know. They want a chance and they just need someone to give them a chance.”
Source: Humans of Ottawa, December 16, 2016