We have been thrilled to have Julia Khair, from Palestine, as an IVEPer placed with Sam’s Place this year. Her official job title is Sam’s Place Assistant, which can mean a lot of different things, depending on the day or week or month!
We have found, here at Sam’s Place, having hosted many IVEPers in the past, that there are some key elements that contribute to a successful placement. Having a willingness to work alongside someone who is new, and being ready to orient a person to the tasks as well as the larger work environment and culture, is really important. Given that part of the whole mission of Sam’s Place is to provide a sense of community for youth through work with volunteers, we are well-placed to work on providing this to an IVEPer, as well. Curiosity, and a genuine interest in learning about another person’s culture, interests, and idiosyncrasies, also goes a long way in building relationship throughout the year. Moving on from curiosity to finding common ground between the IVEPer’s experience and interest and what we already do at Sam’s Place is also integral in having a meaningful year together as IVEP partner organization and IVEP participant.
We have worked to welcome Julia into her role here at Sam’s Place, in ways large and small, concrete and abstract. It has included providing her with training, and the tools for her to succeed in her role, like teaching her everything from how to use the café dishwasher, to how to get the perfect microfoam for a cappuccino, to making a bacon jam grilled cheese sandwich. It has also meant trying to have an understanding of who she is, and where she comes from, and to make her feel comfortable and at home in this new environment, which comes more than anything else out of sharing time together, over lunch or coffee (which she has started drinking since working at Sam’s Place!) or a task we work on together.
Julia brings such a wealth of gifts and experience to Sam’s Place! She has a lot of energy, and an easy demeanour with youth and other volunteers. She is incredibly adaptable to different situations and has a willingness and interest in participating in all different aspects of Sam’s Place and MCC Manitoba work. She has a positive attitude, which can mean so much in the daily grind of work and life. She brings a knowledge of mass media and communications, which has been so useful for the Sam’s Place online and social media presence. Finally, she brings her narrative from Palestine, which is an important and under-known narrative for people in this context, and it has been such a gift for her to be able to share her stories with us this year.