(Add photo)

Sandra, Outreach volunteer

“I started volunteering at Project Genesis after receiving help concerning a problem with my landlord. I decided to volunteer with the Outreach program.

After becoming a volunteer, I started attending activities and workshops at Project Genesis, including one on welfare. At the discussion, two workers were explaining everything there is to know about how welfare works, how to apply, and some of the challenges faced by people who need to receive it. They talked about changes in the law, the Emploi-Québec program, and how these changes would affect people receiving welfare. A lot of people present shared their personal experience and troubles, what they’ve been through at the hands of the agents there and the program in general. It was a great learning experience. I don’t always follow the news, so for me to hear about the upcoming changes helped a lot to figure out what is going on and what is about to happen.

At the time of this event, I, myself was a recipient of welfare. I was in the process of looking for a job but I couldn’t find anything ,so it really shook me to my core to hear some of the horror stories because I felt like if ever my check was to get cut off, it would be impossible for me to take care of my family. As a single mother of 5 children, I felt like it was time for me to think of a plan B, and to act quickly. Since I wasn’t having luck in the job search department, i decided to take another route so I’m currently back in school, studying to become a medical secretary.

The highlight of the discussion was the many diverse testimonies of the participants. When you hear what other people have gone through, you can relate –  it can help you, it can inspire you, it can motivate you. And for my part, it definitely gave me a big push and hopefully I will never need to go back to welfare. There’s a feeling of insecurity when you’re on it that I don’t need to feel anymore.”

Sandra, Outreach volunteer