“Thank you” and “Hi” are all I knew how to say when I moved from Libya with my husband and two young daughters. This all feels like a dream. But I couldn’t do it without the support from Scilla, Jeremy and Heather.” Nazmi has been an integral part of the Adventure4Change team for the past 3 years and has been living in the Sunnydale neighbourhood since in 2015. In this time, she has made incredible strides in all realms of her life. Her story is one of determination and passion to build a beautiful life for her family. Learning English with expensive schooling was not feasible while juggling being a mom, wife and daughter in law. However, Nazmi was determined to learn nonetheless. “I would go explore, checking out the community and neighbourhood.” And this is how she found the Sunnydale community centre. “My life started from there. I made a lot of friends because all of the families were nice. I went every day to meet up with my friends while attending groups where I practiced my English. Without BBW I would have been alone and not learned the language.”
Through these connections she was informed her about a job opening for a child care position. She was unsure but was encouraged to at least write a resume and apply. She felt like there were people with better qualifications but she pushed past this uncertainty and successfully secured the job. Here, she gained confidence which would prove integral for future success to come. With an end date of the contract child care position looming, Nazmi was determined to find another position. Her friend Naheed from the community encouraged her to connect with Jeremy who might have opportunities. Jeremy asked her about her aspirations in life and the impact she wanted to make on the world. She felt heard, respected and believed in. “If I needed anything, I would go and ask because no one will judge you here.” This is how Nazmi joined our Adventure4Change team.
Flash forward to 2019. It was Nazmi’s idea to create the major success of a program called “Mini Chefs”. We went into two elementary schools during lunch hour and taught kids how to cook a delicious and nutritious meal. This summer Nazmi was put in the position of responsibility to plan and facilitate a week long music camp, kicking off our summer programming. On the final day, she served as the Master of Ceremony (MC) for the camper’s final performance in front of the community. Reflecting on this, she shared “I was so nervous. My heart was racing. This was the first time I ever presented for a group of people in English. I almost didn’t do it. But Scilla had so much on her plate, I wanted to work past my fears and do my job well. I was upset I was so nervous but also so proud of myself for trying.” Nazmi says she got through it because she felt encouraged and supported by the team who helped her practice and normalizing her feelings. “I would do it again, the second time will be easier.”
When asked how she achieved so much in such a foreign context she says, “You have to try. You have to do anything you can to improve yourself. Don’t say “I don’t have the language. I don’t have the degree.” No. You have to try anyways. Don’t be afraid. Just go, start from a small place and you are going to grow.”