Continuing our series of posts on “Know the Team”, today we will talk to Scheila Masinda, one of Umoja’s children’s afterschool program coordinators.
We asked Scheila how she started at Umoja she told us she has always been drawn to helping others. She has been volunteering for a youth and leadership program with the YMCA when she heard about a position opening up at Umoja. Scheila was thrilled with the opportunity and started off with being a Summer Camp Staff Coordinator in 2016. After that, she said she was hooked on the job.
You said you are keen on helping others. Why do you like that?
“They have always been involved in community work and I think it just runs in the family.”
We heard that immigration has been always a cause dear to your heart, why is that?
I’m a child of immigrants that are from the Democratic Republic of Congo, from a young age I knew how it felt for my parents to try and integrate into Canadian society as easily as possible. My parents have always made me appreciate the beauty of immigration.
What makes you enjoy the work you do at Umoja?
Working at Umoja and with The Children’s Program has humbled me and has put a lot of perspective into my life. I do it because I actually see the growth in them every day and it’s not for nothing. I learn more and more each and every day and I’m thankful.
Scheila, we are the ones thankful for your hard work! Thank you for helping children better adapt to a new reality in Canada and therefore helping their families. Nice to meet you.
If you like this series and wants to hear more about the Umoja team, please leave your comments below.
If you are already involved with Umoja or are thinking about engaging with the cause, you may want to know who are the people who make everything happen. Look no further! Here you will find some of these extraordinary individuals on our series ‘Know the Team!’
To get started, let’s meet Jamie Kopp, the Programs Manager at Umoja Operation Compassion Society of BC.
She has been working with Umoja consecutively since 2011. However, collectively it’s been about 10 years that she has been involved with Umoja.
Jamie, tell us more about these 10 years.
Originally, I got involved with Umoja during a university practicum. I spent a few months working in the kids program and continued to volunteer on Saturdays after my practicum completed for about a year. Shortly after that, I was offered a position with Umoja supporting with administration which I did for about 6 months. Then I did some traveling and was away from Umoja for a year and a half. After that, I was asked to return and run the kids program! I did and a few years later became programs manager.
And what does a Programs Manager do? She said:
Working for a smaller non-profit agency I pretty much do a little bit of everything! My work consists of supporting staff in their work and overseeing program operations, implementing policy, human resources, fund development such as proposal writing and fundraising, budgeting, partnership development, and the list goes on! I’ll also pretty good at troubleshooting so I’ve become the go-to person for computer/electronics/space issues that need fixing.
When we asked Jamie, what she liked the most about her job, she told us that she gets to be involved with the amazing work that Umoja does for newcomers day to day. As well as supporting in building new vision and opportunity for Umoja to continue growing and helping more families coming to Canada. She’s just an awesome good-doer, isn’t she?
And finally, does Jamie think Umoja’s mission is important for the community? Absolutely! She replied:
Umoja’s mission ‘to empower immigrants and refugees to successfully integrate into an inclusive Canadian society’ is definitely important for the community! It is important to recognize that everyone comes with strengths, talents, and abilities to contribute to the community and Canadian society. Through programs and services that directly support and empower children, youth and adults. Umoja creates an opportunity for newcomers to learn, grow and thrive as community members. There can be many challenges that newcomers face during their integration process. However, the services that Umoja provides are key in guiding newcomers through complex systems and societal expectations to move forward and contribute as thriving, engaged members of the community which means we all benefit!
Nice to meet you, Jamie!
Do you have any other questions for her? Ask here in the comments.
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