Barbara is an Employment Counsellor at the Skills for Change Employment Ontario West office. She was born in Lisbon, Portugal and arrived in Canada on Mother’s Day when she was one-year-old. She has been able to travel back and forth between Toronto and Lisbon every year while growing up.
“Sometimes it feels like I am in a limbo. When I am in Canada, people point out my accent - and when I am back home, they do the same. So, sometimes, I feel like I do not belong anywhere.”
“But when I am back home in Portugal with my family, I feel like I connect. My roots are there. And when I come back to Canada, I honestly feel like that this is the place where I belong. It’s like having two homes.”
“Toronto is just very fast-paced. It is always about finishing one task and then getting to another. In Portugal, there’s more of an emphasis on taking the time to enjoy family and friends. I miss that component when I am here.”
On Barbara’s 19th birthday, she got a phone call from Skills for Change about an administrative position that she had applied for. She was hired and began her journey at Skills for Change as an Administrative Assistant before becoming an Information Officer. She was then hired as an Employment Advisor and now is a Employment Counsellor at Skills for Change.
“I always feel like the most important aspect of Skills for Change is our focus on helping people and supporting their specific needs. No matter what happens in my day, I remember that one client who has that great success story. And to know that I was a part of that journey, and that interaction and connection, it gives me the energy to do what I do.”
Outside of work, Barbara loves to exercise, cooking and watching cooking shows. In fact, a few years ago she competed on the cooking show “Come Dine with Me” on W Channel!
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Humans of Skills for Change is a series highlighting the driving force and inspiration behind our organization: OUR PEOPLE.