My name is Angela Trojanovic and I am part of the Canada Summer Jobs 2018 Program at Habitat for Humanity Halton- Mississauga. This summer I had the pleasure of being a Community Ambassador for the organization. I am currently entering my final year at Western University in the Media Information Technoculture program, specializing in Public Relations and Marketing.
You’d think being in a communications-like program at school, I would be confident with my interpersonal skills, like communicating and interacting with other people, but really I lacked confidence in this department. People often say I’m an outgoing individual and not even remotely shy, but I would feel sick at the thought of doing a presentation in front of classmates, or even answering a question and expressing my opinion. After working at Habitat and going out in the community every single day, I feel more than confident talking to and interacting with people. This is a skill I feel will help me be successful in my personal life but also professional life, thanks to this amazing experience at Habitat.
I really didn’t know what to expect starting this new job, but one thing I knew was that I was in the right place the minute I walked into the Habitat for Humanity Halton- Mississauga office in Burlington. There were three individuals at the reception area and each of them said hello with a big smile on their face. I immediately felt welcomed. I went into the massive board room and there was my manager Chris awaiting me. He immediately joked around and asked me if I was sweating and ready for the “intense two-hour interview” (which turned out to be 15 minutes). I had a really good feeling leaving the interview (which mostly consisted of laughs with Chris), and two hours later I got a call asking if I would like to join the Habitat team. I did not hesitate in saying yes. I hadn’t even started the job and it already felt like home.
On the first day of the job, I got to meet all the other new summer students. They all seemed so personable and kind, and we got into conversation right away. Hurmat was going to be the other community ambassador who I was told would be working alongside me all summer. We really hit it off and then I found out my mom was her co-op teacher in high school, which was really cool. It felt like I already had known her and we had an instant bond. This made going out on the road day in and day out that much more fun.
On the second day of the job, Chris showed us our personal community ambassador vehicle and took us out for a spin in the area to show us what we would be doing all summer. His enthusiasm and obvious passion for Habitat made me even more excited to begin the job.
One thing I learned this summer is how important it was to the organization to actually go out in the community. I felt like all of the hours we put in going door to door and handing out pamphlets paid off as we were able to really spread the Habitat message and in turn receive more donors. It is important to actually actually engage with people, create conversations and build relationships, as this is a way to create brand recognition and share our thanks to the community and supporters of Habitat. I really enjoyed being able to teach communities we visited about all of the really awesome programs Habitat has that a lot of people didn’t know about.
The reactions I got from people I approached about our Driveway/Garage pickup program for donations was satisfying. People loved the thought of donating, but majority of them said they didn’t have time or a proper vehicle to put a desk in and to drive it to the closest Habitat office, so this program thrilled them. I also enjoyed telling people about the kitchen salvage program because people were in shock that we would rip out and dissemble a kitchen for free. I remember talking to a lady who said she had been nagging her husband to allow her to renovate her kitchen and that she would use this as a way to help her get her way. It was super funny and I hope that it works out for her!
Altogether, I had an incredible experience at Habitat this summer. I don’t even know how to sum it up in words. There are so many things I have learned from other wonderful Habitat employees or just by going out in the Nissan Versa everyday in the communities of Burlington, Oakville and Mississauga that I will cherish and use to help me be success and grow as an individual!