Early this year, Rebecca* started her new job as a security guard at Paragon Security and since then has noticed her mood improving, “How I feel about myself is just more regulated. It feels less stressful now because I have a job that I don’t have to worry about changing my schedule. Now I have a set schedule, steady pay and that’s giving me security, and I’m feeling good.”
After working in retail, Rebecca had been interested in the field of security thinking it’d be a better fit with her personality and life, “I thought security would be more relaxed, where I can be more myself.”
Soon thereafter the right opportunity presented itself, “I live in Covenant House. I decided to take time off school because of stress. I didn’t have stable work. One day my youth worker connected me to this security job opportunity through YSM when I was already thinking about working in security. Then the next thing you know, I was doing the interview and it was a quick process.”
Rebecca soon connected with Richard and Sherrian from YSM’s employment team, who helped guide and prepare her for the interview and recruitment process. “Richard was very nice. I was so surprised he remembered my birthday too! Sherrian was extremely helpful, especially with my resumé. She made it look like I’ve never seen it look before. Everybody at YSM is so compassionate and patient.”
Since April 2020, 20 job placements have been facilitated through the partnership and collaboration between Paragon Security and YSM. “We can feel it’s very genuine – the job developers really want to help the youth. They really want them to succeed and they’re just as excited,” shares Melissa Hachey, HR Manager at Paragon Security, who’s worked with YSM since 2018. “And also the youth, they’re really engaged. I think that has a lot to do with YSM providing such a caring and non-judgmental atmosphere.”
“At Paragon, we also take a lot of time to make sure youth feel welcomed and not overwhelmed,” explains Victor Arcentales, Paragon Security’s HR Specialist. “If they have schedule restrictions, whether because of caring for family, school or other work, we try to accommodate those. We make sure to coordinate with their needs.”
Both Melissa and Victor highlight the importance of openness and transparency in the success and continuation of the partnership, “Being able to have dialogue and receive feedback from both the job developers as well as the community members really helps us.”
For Rebecca, she’s been able to find a job that aligns with her strengths in communication and interpersonal skills, “Paragon has been really nice. I look forward to interacting with different people. I’m currently located at a college, so talking to students and professors that come in. I also look forward to working with my colleagues and with different departments, making jokes and laughing – it honestly just makes my day.”
The new sense of stability has also helped Rebecca focus on her goals, “For the next year and half, I just want to save as much money as I can. When I leave Covenant House, I want to travel, I want to learn Spanish, and maybe even teach English abroad. Those are my goals right now.”
Are you an employer? Consider connecting with job development agencies to see how you can work together to provide recruitment opportunities. Learn more about YSM’s Employment Services or connect with our team at email@example.com
*Name and photo changed to respect community member’s privacy
Feeling inspired? We’re inviting the city of Toronto to GIVE 6IX to “the Six” in any way, from anywhere, to help change the lives of neighbours struggling with poverty . . .
What’s your 6IX? Learn more and get inspired at ysm.ca/GIVE6IX.