30 Voices of
Former WINS Volunteer Coordinator
I came to Calgary in 2022 from Ukraine, filled with hope and excitement to start a new life in a new country. But as a newcomer, I quickly realized that starting over in a foreign land can be incredibly challenging. I was struggling to find my place in this new city but discovering WINS through a community fair changed my life. I was immediately drawn to their programs for newcomers in the city, but what really captivated me about WINS were their volunteer opportunities. Here was a chance to not only help others like me but also gain valuable work experience in my new country. I was nervous and scared at first, but as soon as I started volunteering at WINS, those fears disappeared. The staff and other volunteers welcomed me with open arms, making me feel like I was part of a big family.
WINS Store Volunteer
I didn't know anyone in Calgary except for my husband, and I needed to find a way to use my energy. I’m not your typical woman in her 50s. I have so much energy and I wanted to use it to do something meaningful. That's when I found WINS and started volunteering at the store. I love the idea that the thrift store support programs for women and their families. I love the staff and customers at WINS. I always look forward to the days I’m volunteering at the store because I always feel like I belong here. I feel accepted for who I am. It means a lot to me to be able to fill that social need and search for something meaningful in my life while positively impacting the lives of others.
WINS Store Volunteer
What I love most about volunteering with WINS is the chance to make a difference in my own special way. I see firsthand the impact we have on the lives of women and immigrants in our community. And when I had knee surgery and needed support myself, WINS was there to accommodate me so I could continue serving others. I volunteer almost full-time at the store without getting paid, not because I have to, but because I'm passionate about making a positive impact. There are many of us who give our time and energy to WINS, and we do it because we believe in the cause. So if you're looking for a way to use your skills and make a difference in the lives of others, I encourage you to consider volunteering with WINS. It's a truly rewarding experience.
WINS Store Key Holder
I came to Canada in 2015, bringing with me some office experience from (home country). Finding a job here was challenging so I started volunteering with WINS in 2017 and got hired by the organization a month later. Working with WINS has been fulfilling. I never ran out of opportunities to grow professionally. After working with WINS for five years now, I consider them my second family. The flexible hours at WINS allowed me to pursue a career while taking care of my child. I have seen how WINS changed women's lives, including mine. What WINS gets in donations goes to the people in need and we help them a lot. In 2022, we have helped Ukrainian women in their Canadian journey and I can see they need a lot of support. Especially now life is getting so expensive and hard, every donation to WINS really counts.
Community Support Worker
A client, new to the country, was able to get connected with our House to Home program to take advantage of a clothing referral to make sure her family is well prepared for this coming winter. She was able to find many clothing items to keep her family warm this winter, and was very lucky to find the right size of jackets and winter boots for all her family members! She expressed her gratitude to the program and was very happy with the help she received; she was quite frightened that she would be caught in the snow without the proper gear to tackle it.
*please note an Alias was used for confidentiality
House to Home Participant
I moved to Calgary from Ontario in February 2022, leaving a difficult situation. With two luggage bags and my children in tow, I was anticipating it would be difficult for us to do the move. But thanks to WINS's House to Home Program, I was able to build a home for my children. The support was amazing. The House to Home Program made living in a different city more comfortable. They provided me with the basic furniture I needed. Everyone in the House to Home Program was great. I was not only able to equip myself with the necessary skills to start a new life, but I was also able to make new friends, which to me, was equally important. Everyone was so supportive, so comforting, and non-judgmental. I felt accepted.
Retail Ready Graduate & WINS Volunteer
The moment I started the Retail Ready Program, I was inspired to keep going until I completed it. And when I did, I felt empowered. I've never felt so confident in preparing my own resume and cover letter. This made me realize that I was never in a position to be so afraid. I have skills and I learn things quickly and I do have good qualities in me. The Program made me realize all that and made a huge impact on my life. I did the mock interviews in the program with some TJX employees. So, in the end, I got a job at Winners on Stephen Avenue and will soon be relocated to a location near my house. Throughout all these stories WINS has been there for me. I think I was meant to come to Calgary and whenever I have a chance, I tell people about WINS. Whenever I meet a woman who is struggling, I tell her about WINS.
Retail Ready Student
I went to the Resource Hubs feeling lost and uncertain about how to navigate the benefits and healthcare system in Canada as I am new to the country. The Facilitators at the Hub guided and supported me. Because of their help, I was able to apply for child benefits, and Alberta healthcare, and navigate the different systems here in Canada. They even provided us with winter clothes, which we desperately needed. When I expressed my desire to find a job and become self-sufficient, they referred me to the Retail Ready program. Retail Ready changed my life. It helped me adjust to my new environment and feel like I belonged. I learned important skills such as how to plan for the future, they taught me how to save money, and even understand myself better. Through Retail Ready, I found my first job and opened a bank account, allowing me to start saving for the future. Looking back, I am grateful for the kindness and generosity of the people who facilitated the Retail Ready program. They gave me the tools and support I needed to build a new life for myself and my family.
*please note an Alias was used for confidentiality
Community Resource Hub Client
My husband and I had four children when we moved here from Iraq, and he was unable to work due to an injury sustained in a car accident. We were living on welfare, and things were tough. But then I got pregnant with our fifth child, and that's when the House to Home program came into our lives. Through Charlie's Children, we were given a mattress, stroller, crib, car seat, and even a bathtub for babies. It was a huge relief to receive these things.
Through the Community Resource Hub, we received an upgraded car seat for our two-year-old, as well as food like cupcakes and fresh bread. I was laughing and having a wonderful time speaking to the program facilitator, which helped me feel like I have people I can turn to whenever I need help. Thank you for putting smiles on the faces of so many immigrant mothers. Your generous donation helped me and many others who are in the same situation.