The Worker Program

Serve Refugees – Meet the World in a Neighbourhood – Grow Spiritually in Community

This full-time live-in program gives young people the opportunity to walk alongside refugees in a spirit of service and mutual care; to live with families in a community that intentionally blurs the lines between work and the rest of life; to explore what it looks like to do justice with Spirit; and to be part of building and sustaining a thriving and life-giving community. The life of a worker in our community includes:

  • Accompanying refugees in settling in Toronto and navigating the complex refugee determination process: Through our daily intake program, workers support residents and walk-ins in various immigration processes/applications, accessing social assistance and healthcare, searching for affordable housing, enrolling in school, and seeking employment.
  • Carrying out many, varied Organisational Tasks: Some of these are more administrative in nature, such as processing financial donations or putting together our newsletter. Others take workers out into our community, such as coordinating our bicycle program, doing public education seminars, spending a day in the garden or running kids’ club or women’s group.
  • Serving as a live-in House Coordinator: Pairs of workers support the families who live at Romero House by facilitating house meetings, supporting social relationships between residents, collectively caring for our homes and properties and responding to emergency situations.
  • Intentionally Building community: A community of workers emerges as we meet for prayer each morning, share meals and cleaning tasks, spend days and evenings together, and go on retreats. We build the Romero community through birthday and holiday celebrations, our summer camp, weekend excursions, and simply being present to each other whenever possible. We are a community that walks with people through suffering and difficulty, but also that sees the tremendous importance of celebrating.

Romero House invites applications to its worker program from people looking for a meaningful way to spend a year or two or possibly just a summer. You can apply for either our full year (11 month) program (Late August to the end of July), or our summer program (start of May until late August).


Eligibility:

To be eligible for the worker program you must:

  • Be over 19 years of age
  • Have completed high school. University education or training in specific skills will certainly be helpful to you.
  • Demonstrate emotional maturity and good judgment. Workers are in a role of tremendous responsibility.
  • Be fairly comfortable communicating in English. Fluency in Spanish/French/Arabic or another second language is valued but not essential.
  • Be open to fully participating in the Christian and reflective dimension of the Romero House worker community
  • Be willing to really give yourself, including on some evenings and weekends, to being an active and present part of the community for the duration of the worker program

In addition to these criteria, we seek workers who exhibit some of the following characteristics

  • A commitment to social justice
  • A desire to give oneself to others in a free and generous spirit
  • A willingness to work and live in unfamiliar situations
  • An interest in and excitement about learning from other
    cultures
  • A willingness to work hard with competence and care
  • An ability to take initiative
  • A desire to live in a spirit of simplicity and solidarity, resisting the material inclinations of our culture

Romero House cares for workers in a number of ways, including by offering the following:

  • A room in one of our houses and communal meals
  • Basic medical and dental coverage (one cleaning and check up per worker year)
  • Medical insurance for international workers waiting to qualify for OHIP
  • A stipend of $200/month for first year workers, $500/month for second year
  • Insurance coverage to drive a Romero House vehicle and the cost of switching to an Ontario drivers license
  • Access to a bicycle and
  • A public transit passes
  • A cell phone subsidy of up to $50/month
  • Support to go on a personal retreat and access to possible retreat spaces
  • A personal mentor
  • Access to lots of fun local entertainment in accompanying families to events (sports, theatre, music etc) via donated tickets
  • A return trip home at the end of the worker program for those who are not local

Romero House is committed to living in solidarity with our refugee neighbours, most of whom are receiving social assistance. Thus, all Romero salaries and stipends are deliberately modest. We hope that the compensation available makes the worker program accessible to applicants regardless of their circumstances. We are happy to try to assist you, as we are able, in requesting a deferral of your student loan.

Former workers have gone on to serve the world in amazing ways. These include: Academics, legal work (law, law clerks, community legal worker), volunteer coordination, advocacy (Citizens for Public Justice), NGO project coordination, United Nations projects, refugee sponsorship coordination, architecture, employment centre management, fire fighting, civil service (Immigration and Refugee Board, Queen’s Park assistant), medicine (nurse practitioner, physician), parenting (stay at home parent!), organic agriculture, religious work (priesthood, campus ministry, church mission work), intentional community work (L’Arche, St. John the Compassionate mission, Catholic Worker) and so much more!

If you have any questions about the program or Romero House, if you would like to speak to a current workerabout their experience with the program or if you would like to arrange a tour of Romero House, please email our Worker Program Application Coordinator (Harold Wright) at: workerprogram@romerohouse.org 

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