Natalia Charif, Community Support Worker – Social Services
What were you doing before attending Sprott Shaw College?
According to my first education, I’m an Engineer in Telecommunications. In my 20th, I dedicated 5 years of studying at the National Academy of Telecommunications in Ukraine. My first job in Canada was an electronics assembler and I didn’t like it much, that’s why when I was laid off, I decided that it was the perfect time for a change. So, I went to school. That was in 2019. I told to myself: What’s going on? Again? ? Hey girl, isn’t it too late to go back to school in your 50th?
Why did you choose Sprott Shaw College?
Before submitting my application to college, I had done my homework. Sprott Shaw College was chosen not only because of the campus location, small classes and flexibility but also, according to my research, the rate of students’ employment after school was almost 100%! – It was very important and I was sold. Another thing, my Admissions Advisor didn’t annoy me with constant phone calls compared to others 😉
How was the admissions process?
The admission process was good … nice conversation/interview with Laura Nault, then her helpful tips, guidance and support made me feel comfortable and all my paperwork was done quickly. English and math assessments were not stressful as well.
What program did you choose and why?
I chose the Community Support – Social Services Program because after doing a volunteer job for MOSAIC, helping newcomers with integration into Canadian Society, I found a burning desire to continue this path, I really felt that helping people was exactly what I would like to do.
What was the environment like during your time at Sprott Shaw College?
I was very anxious in the beginning, especially about two things: the first one was going to school with people half my age. Thank God, I’ve had amazing classmates! Actually, I was not only the “old one” in the class; ? The second one was going to study at college not in my first language, not in the second language, but in the third one!!! Sometimes, it was really hard to keep up with my youngest classmates. I had to spend more time doing my assignments/homework, preparing for presentations. So, it was a bit hard for me! However, the environment at school was friendly and supportive! Thanks all instructors and my classmates, I made it!
Where was your practicum and how was it?
I had completed my student placement as an LGBTQ+ Support Worker Intern at the I BELONG program, MOSAIC. This position allowed me to gain more experience working with refugees affected by rejection, violence/abuse and I was able to effectively provide support.
How long did it take you to find a job after graduation?
During my practicum, I received a job offer, it was a temporary Administrative Assistant Position in one of MOSAIC’s offices, so, I accepted it right away. Lucky me!
Where do you work? Can you explain your duties?
After 6 months working for MOSAIC, I was hired By YWCA as a Second Stage Transition House Support Worker. My duties include:
Provide ongoing emotional support, advocacy, court accompaniment, parenting support, assistance with safety planning, information, and referrals to residents
Respond to emergency crisis situations
Plan and facilitate women’s groups and resident events
Assist Russian & Ukrainian speaking clients who have difficulty expressing their needs in English.
Work collaboratively with the Housing Services and Violence Prevention staff
If you could give advice to someone coming to Sprott Shaw, what would you say?
Don’t be afraid to go to class! Study and work hard! Be positive and keep positive! Be confident and stay active!
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Today I pride myself on being a brave, dedicated and serious student, and being able to successfully finished the school … ? with honours, YAY!. Obviously, we are lifelong learners.