“You crowned me with a Career for a Lifetime." - Marie Tomines
My name is Marie. I have lived in Vancouver, Canada, for almost 16 years. I came to Canada as a Live-in caregiver in 2004. After my contract for 2.5 years, I officially received my open work visa in 2007. So, I took multiple jobs, from Tim Hortons as a counter staff to home support care for an 80-year-old. In addition, I also had part-time babysitting in the evenings, and on most weekends, I cleaned houses. This routine was very tiring but lasted eight years until one of my friends referred me to a job as a Food Counter Attendant at the UBC Cafeteria. I was lucky to have been given the position. Therefore, I dropped all my part-time jobs and focused on one. That was a relief! I held my job at UBC for almost seven years until the COVID-19 pandemic hit in 2020, and I got laid off. So, I applied for EI for the first time.
While I was unemployed, I was bored and anxious. I wanted to go to school to take Health Care Assistant program. But I wondered if I could shoulder the costs. Then, my friend told me about WorkBC and to call Ms. Rosita Bernardo. With Ms. Bernardo's direction, my request for funding support was approved by Whalley WorkBC. So, I finally got into the Health Care Assistant Program. During my training, I struggled to balance my household duties, make my assignments, review and prepare for exams. I often had very little sleep, and my stress and anxiety were very high. However, as I talked to Ms. Rosita, she was always very positive, guiding and encouraging me that I could do well and not doubt myself. So, I persevered despite all the hardships. I am proud that in December, 2021, I received my Health Care Assistant Diploma at Drake Medox College with Honours.
I am now working at Broadway Lodge, where I had my practicum. I am happy I started as a casual worker, and became permanent staff a few weeks later. So, I am no longer chasing from one job to another; instead, jobs are now chasing me. I am proud I have chosen this stable career and serve as a foundation for building my future with my family.
Ms. Rosita has a golden heart and a gift that inspires, encourages, dedication to helping people like me who had almost given up. She regularly checked how I was doing and continued advising me; that is why I overcame my fears and challenges throughout the journey. There are no words to explain how grateful I am, including my family, to have Ms. Rosita as my wonderful counsellor.
Ms. Rosita Bernardo and Whalley Work BC, “You crowned me with a Career for a Lifetime."
May you continue your passion for helping people, and the community.