I’m sure you remember last summer’s headlines about the refugee crisis. According to the BBC more than 1.8 million people arrived in Europe in 2015 alone. As a minister and former social worker, my heart broke for these displaced people. As an immigrant, I know how it feels to enter a new country, file mass amounts of paperwork, and try to create a new home far from where I grew up. Still, my story is so different. I drove across the boarder freely. As a caucasian female fluent in English, I settled easily into my new Canadian city.
I wanted to help so badly, but as a mother with a mortgage and community responsibilities (oh, and a business based in Toronto), I couldn’t just uproot my life. What could I do? In September 2016 I embarked on a new journey to create a training program at my painting company, Lori’s Painting, to give newcomers a place to work, develop their language skills, and participate in a needed trade.
I know how much employment contributes to one’s sense of self worth, sense of belonging, and pride as they are able to provide for their family. These were persons starting a new journey of their own far from home. To date we have employed 5 newcomers, with two additional trainees starting next week. One has chosen to stay on with us and is being developed to be a site supervisor. This week I heard the wonderful news that another of our our trainees secured a full-time position with another local company. I have learned that one doesn’t need to go far from home to have an impact.
Since it is not just me anymore, I changed the name of the company to New Horizons Painting Inc. in order to reflect the fact that we are ever growing, ever looking to the future, and always welcoming those who have bravely pursued their own new horizon.