Finding the Right Support: Mary Jane's Success Story
This spring, YWCA Metro Vancouver launched YWCA Axis, a one-to-one employment program for immigrant women who have experienced domestic violence or abuse. This trauma-informed program is delivered over 12 weeks and helps participants develop an employment or training plan to achieve sustainable employment or further education.
YWCA Axis provides skills training and related supports to strengthen participants’ confidence and enhance their resiliency in achieving personal and professional goals. The first step is to identify barriers they are facing and then create realistic and achievable goals for skills development and sustainable employment.
The program recognizes the diversity of the immigrant population and provides services in Farsi, Mandarin, Punjabi, Hindi and English. Another highlight is the flexibility of the program – participants can join at any time and have a flexible schedule.
Besides unemployment, participants often face several other barriers such as lack of housing, child care, lack of English or digital literacy skills, lack of confidence and low self-esteem.
Services are delivered by career advisors who understand the impact of violence and abuse on employability and assist participants to move forward with their education or employment goals. They work with community partners, employers and job developers to provide opportunities to participants in attaining their goals, whether it’s skills development, volunteering or employment. They also provide much-needed wrap-around supports such as counselling, training programs, financial supports and access to other YWCA services.
Since the program launch in May 2021, 27 women have completed training and there are currently 22 active participants in the program. Our career advisors have worked with women from Iran, India, China, Latin America, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Japan, Pakistan and Indonesia. They report having learned about the program through social media, referrals from friends and family, community poster boards and referrals from transition homes or victim services.
Mary Jane is one of the program graduates. Here’s what she shared about her experience:
“The YWCA Axis program has been a blessing for me. My career advisor, Aman has been so wonderful and kind, she believed in me when I didn’t.
When I first begun the program, I had low confidence and I didn’t know what my future looked like. As a single mother of two, I felt hopeless and was struggling to focus on myself.
YWCA Axis forced me to make time for myself and my goals. Aman created a training plan for me and motivated me each and every week to meet my goals.
I have always wanted to work in the administrative field but didn’t think I was good enough. She encouraged me to look at the strengths I had. I have never met anyone in my life who believed in me more than I did myself, she was my cheerleader and boosted my confidence.
Aman helped me improve my resume and write a cover letter. She referred me to an administrative position with a highly successful company. I still remember the day she told me about the position. I told her ‘I don’t think I can do this’ and she said ‘I KNOW you can do this!’
I applied for the position with the resume she updated for me and got an interview. Then she spent time with me to prepare for the interview and I got an employment offer the very next day.
I am so happy; my dreams have come true. Thanks to the YWCA Axis program and to my career advisor I am a completely different woman than I was 12 weeks ago. I cannot thank the YWCA Axis program enough!”
To learn more about YWCA Axis or to register, visit ywcavan.org/axis.