Seven months ago Iryna Kolosovska, 20, fled the war in Ukraine and came to Canada where she’s been working as a care support assistant at Bradford Valley Care Community, a long-term care home in Bradford West Gwillimbury.
Kolosovska came to Bradford with her mother and sister, while her father and relatives stayed behind in Ukraine. The difficult decision to find refuge in Canada was abrupt.
“In the beginning with the war in Ukraine, it was a quick decision to come to Canada,” said Kolosovska. “It was very hard when I first got here, but with time it’s getting easier.”
Leaving her home and family under such terrifying circumstances, for a place she’d never been where people speak a language she didn’t know is an unimaginable situation for many.
“It’s been very difficult because it’s a new country, new language, and new people,” she said. “Everything is new.”
Finding work and support within Bradford Valley has been life-changing for Kolosovska as she transitions to a new country.
“The support given to me by my family and friends and everyone at Bradford Valley has helped me adjust,” she explained. “Everybody has helped me by supporting me and I’m grateful for the experience Bradford Valley has has given me."
Oksana Kobzar, Bradford Valley’s Associate Director of Care, helped Kolosovska land the job and has been a key supporter, especially with the language barrier.
“It’s been really hard for her and her family to adjust, but her relatives talked to me and I helped her get this job. I recommended her saying she’s a nice girl who came to Canada and is looking for a job,” said Kobzar. “It was very hard in the beginning because English is something she just started in school, she had never even practiced speaking English."
Not only has Kolosovska come to a new country and found work, she’s balancing it all while still working toward her degree.
“She’s studying university online in Ukraine and she’s finishing her last year while working the evening shift here,” said Kobzar. “It’s very difficult, but day-by-day her English is getting better and she loves working with the residents and the staff. Now, she’s even thinking she might stay in Canada for the future.”
Kolosovska isn’t the only Ukrainian refugee to find support at the long-term care home. Nine other Ukrainian refugees have found work and accommodations thanks to the support of Bradford Valley and Sienna Senior Living, which owns Bradford Valley. To date, Sienna has filled, or is in the process of filling 19 roles with Ukrainian refugees.