Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
My name is Syvanne and I recently graduated from the University of Guelph’s Arts and Science program, studying International Development and Neuroscience with a minor in French Studies. Before working at Skills for Change, I coordinated the Student Refugee Program in Guelph, which really honed my passion for this line of work. I’m always up for trying new things and spending time outdoors, which I frequently did as a student and volunteer. For example, some highlights from the Student Refugee Program were our pre-COVID-19 social events, such as visiting Niagara Falls and watching a University hockey game with all the volunteers and students (I’m not much of a hockey fan, but I did really enjoy the company and post-game nachos).
How did you first learn about Skills for Change?
I saw the summer student job posting online, and did some more research on the organization. Having moved to Canada at a young age, I wish my family had known about SfC when we first arrived. It would have been amazing for us to access these services, which is why doing outreach now is so fulfilling; it ensures more people can access the great programs available through the agency.
What do you do at Skills for Change?
I recently started my new role as the Youth Outreach Worker, collaborating with our community partners to engage people aged 16-29 to participate in our programs, most specifically for our youth leadership program, Lead On. I have been hard at work adapting Lead On to a virtual format and am so excited to start facilitating workshops with young leaders. My main objective at this point is to tailor our program to meet the current needs of our clients and community partners, especially as those needs are constantly changing to adapt to life in the pandemic. I am also working with a community partner on a brand new Jane-Finch Youth Fellowship, starting this fall!
Before starting this role, I spent several months working as the Outreach Program Coordinator summer student for the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub, where I connected with clients, ran information sessions, and recruited entrepreneur mentors.
What do you like doing outside of work/on your days off?
Since the pandemic hit, I spend a lot of my time reading, going on walks, doing yoga, and watching some of my favourite sitcoms, like Schitt’s Creek. Though it may not sound too exciting, my latest quarantine hobby has been crocheting (which is actually very satisfying)! So far, I have crocheted two winter hats and a blanket scarf 🙂
What is the favourite part about working for Skills for Change?
Though I have only worked remotely so far, I really enjoy the warm dynamic within the agency, especially during the Balance for Better sessions. Exercising really helps me focus so it’s always fun when we do a workout, dance, or yoga together. I also like to collaborate with staff working on other programs. I think taking a holistic approach is really important and brings out the strengths in the organization. For example, this summer the Newcomer Entrepreneurship Hub and Mentoring for Change teamed up to plan a virtual panel/networking event together, which was a huge success as well as a great way to get to know more clients and staff!