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Twelve years ago, 28 year-old Sammy was a newcomer to Canada seeking political asylum and a better life. He spoke very little English, and was struggling to find work.

Sammy was visiting an employment office one day and saw a poster advertising The Ottawa Mission’s Food Services Training Program (FSTP). He had experience as a cook, so he called us right away. He wound up speaking directly to Chef Ric Watson, The Mission’s Manager of Food Services, and his amazing journey began.

In Sammy, Chef Ric saw a young man who was sincere in his desire to work hard and succeed in life. For this reason, even though the current FSTP class was already full and underway, Chef made an exception for Sammy and admitted him to the program. True to form, Sammy excelled.

During his 5 months in FSTP Sammy also managed to spend a lot of his spare time at our Stepping Stones Learning Centre improving his English – with the ultimate goals of achieving his Grade 12 equivalency – which he did, and then completing the 2-year Culinary Management course at Algonquin College – which he also did! The Mission stood by Sammy, offering encouragement and support, for every step of his journey – even assisting with paperwork to allow his wife to join him in Canada.

Sammy has been working with the same local food services company since completing FSTP – and he, his wife, and their two Canadian born children enjoy a very good life in Ottawa. As Sammy says, “Twelve years ago, people at The Mission opened their hearts to me. They inspired me every day to keep going and achieve my dream. They will always be a part of my life.”

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