Our employability program, a lasting way to address instability
Juan is a political refugee who is experiencing homelessness. We’ve seen more and more youth like him at Dans la rue, and we feel it is important to shed light on this phenomenon. He came to Canada from Mexico, and he has been using our services for three years. He was visibly apprehensive in talking to me. He is very shy, and because he doesn’t speak French, the language barrier is a formidable obstacle for him. His political refugee status has just been granted, but he didn’t want to get into the details about the dangerous journey that brought him here.
When he arrived in Montreal, he immediately started going to Day Centre for the cafeteria, which is often the first point of access for our services and programs. He would also go the art room two or three times a week to take part in the different activities. Dans la rue is actually one of the only organizations in the city that takes in youth whose status is undocumented.
« The art room is a place where I can relax and clear my mind. I can turn to Dans la rue when I’m feeling down, but they are also there for me when things are going well. They listen, and they have counsellors who speak Spanish. They’ve been a huge help in dealing with my refugee claim.»
A first work experience: one step closer to a more rewarding future
The employability counsellor, who is fluent in Spanish, interpreted for us during the interview. She was the one who suggested Juan work at the Day Centre garden over the summer as part of our employment program. This first work experience helped him get back on his feet. The program also includes a number of external activities that exposed him to various horticultural-related career options. Another reason he enjoyed working in the garden is for the peace of mind it gave him.
« I was spinning around in circles. I needed a routine, and I wanted to learn French. The program was really helpful in keeping me focused on my goals. I trust my counsellor, and that helps me stay motivated. »