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Raquel Padua and her family moved to Ottawa from the Philippines in 2008. Raquel had more than 15 years of international experience in social services and program management, but she did not know how to start establishing her roots in Canada.

“At first, we didn’t know how to begin with our new life,” Raquel said. “We don’t have relatives. We were afraid to face the new challenges and we were uncertain how to find a job.”

Raquel researched “Services for Newcomers, Ottawa” on the internet and quickly found the Y’s Newcomer Information Centre (NIC). She called the office and Y staff scheduled a language assessment test for her the following week.

“When I arrived to the NIC, I felt the welcoming atmosphere from all the staff,” she said. “The Y led me in the right direction. I accessed all the available services from settlement to employment. NIC’s partnership with local agencies serving immigrants and employment services is really amazing.”

In March 2009, Raquel herself was hired on a four-month contract as an Information Resource Specialist for the NIC.

“It was a wonderful opportunity to give back to the NIC,” she said. “I cherished each day I served the increasing number of multicultural clients; putting a smile on a client’s face and hearing newcomers tell me ‘Thank you, you really helped us.’”

Today, Raquel is happily employed as a Website Program Officer for the Canadian Immigrant Integration Program.

“Now, I know I can succeed in this new world,” Raquel said. “I am grateful to the Y and NIC for their continuous help and support, providing a world of opportunity for newcomers to Canada.”

To learn more about the Newcomer Information Centre, click here.