My name is Aurora Calalay. I arrived in Canada in 2009 February as a Temporary Foreign Worker at Tim Hortons. I was able to sponsor my husband and my son and we all became Permanent Residents (PR) on 2013 May 30. My son was 8 years old at the time.
Our family was a recipient of many settlement services from the Immigrant Welcome Centre (IWC) in Campbell River. To name a few, aside from documentation assistance, they connected us with Mosaic for the translation of documents and they gave us bus tickets. Our son received Angel Tree gifts and school supplies. Our first dining table, cabinet and couch were also through this organization (IWC asked their other clients if they had or know someone who was giving away these pieces of furniture). They also helped us with our income taxes when our income was still under the required income cut-off.
Whenever available, we attended the International Family Recreation Night Program. Through association with some friends, my son became interested in learning hockey. However, we did not have the financial means to pay for hockey lessons. It was the IWC who introduced us to the Canadian Tire Jumpstart Program. The funds given by this program allowed my son to start learning hockey. Through the years, we received financial assistance from individuals and organizations for my son to continue playing. He is really passionate about this game and people say he is quite good at it. He is almost 15 years old now and he goes to school in Nanaimo. He plays for the Nanaimo’s North Island Silvertips team. He is now in the Major Bantam and they compete in tournaments across BC.
As for my husband, his first two jobs in Campbell River were at two classic Canadian companies: first at Tim Hortons (with me), then at Canadian Tire as warehouse staff. One day, one of my regular customers at Tim Hortons (a manager from Sealand Aviation Ltd) asked how my family was doing and whether they had arrived in Canada. I said “yes, they had landed in Canada”. He then gave me his business card and invited my husband to apply with SeaIand. My husband’s experience with painting our home in the Philippines as a hobby landed him in many painting jobs in Canada. He worked with Sealand Aviation Ltd. painting sea planes. Now he is working in Courtenay painting cars and trucks.
As for me, the IWC referred me to the Campbell River Literacy Association so I can upgrade my English to qualify for further studies. The patience and the generosity of my tutor allowed me to complete the English course I needed. I am now a Licensed Practical Nurse and working full time in this profession.
My husband and I are now working in the jobs we love while my son’s passion for playing hockey is ongoing. All of these are the results of the community generosity which started with the services of the Immigrant Welcome Centre at Campbell River.