Work with Meaning
According to Jessica Pryce-Jones, the author of Happiness at Work, the average person spends 90,000 hours at work over the course of a lifetime. Given that we spend a good chunk of our waking hours at our place of employment, it’s worth it to find work that is meaningful and fulfilling.
For Celina Zuniga, Emmanuel Denguessi and John Galay, that meaningful work takes place through Communitas Supportive Care Society. These three share another common trait: they are all immigrants to Canada: Celina comes from Mexico, Emmanuel from Cameroon and John hails from Nepal. With more than 450 employees representing over 60 countries in the world, Communitas is proud of its skilled and diverse workforce.
Justina Penner, chief human resources officer for Communitas, says that while the organization hires people from all walks of life and experience, hiring new immigrants is very intentional.
“Our primary goal is to find staff people who fit us as an organization, we really value people’s education and life experience,” she says. “We can always teach skills and we’re willing to train on the job. What we look for are people who love diversity, who value people of all abilities, and who come with a serving heart.”
John has been with Communitas since 2002, serving as a Residential Support Worker. He values the fact that the organization is willing to give newcomers a chance.
“At Communitas you are treated with dignity and respect. It’s a diverse organization that accepts people from different cultures and countries,” he says. “I feel very blessed to be working here.”
Celina began working with Communitas in 1994, serving first as a Residential Support Worker, caring for people with developmental disabilities and high medical needs. She fell in love with her work.
“I love the clients so much. They have become like my family,” she says.
Today she serves in the Community Living Program, a life-skills training program for individuals who live independently in the community. As she considers the challenges of coming to a new country, learning a new language and a new culture, she realizes that being an immigrant helps her understand the people she serves.
“I understand the barriers and the discrimination that they feel,” she says.
Acting on the encouragement of his friends, Emmanuel applied for work with Communitas and began as a community support worker in 2013. He then moved to one of Communitas’ residential homes as a residential support worker where he now serves as manager. In each role he has found support from leadership and from other staff.
“As an employee, I am always reminded that I am not alone,” he says.
And just as he was encouraged to apply for work with Communitas, he encourages other to do the same.
“This is a wonderful, welcoming organization to work for,” he says. “You could find a home here too.”