On this week’s Employee Spotlight, where we feature the staff here at The Storefront, and what they do, we have Marion del Castillo Jimenez, our Project Lead- Community Resource Connections Coach at The Storefront. Currently, Marion is temporarily working as a relief staff member while she pursues personal career development aspirations.
Name: Marion del Castillo Jimenez
Job Title: Project Lead Community Resource Connections Coach
Favourite quote or motto you like?
I have a couple of favourite quotes, but I will share this one by Silvio Rodriguez, a famous cuban singer and songwriter- “I’ve preferred to talk of impossible things because too much is known about the possible”. I think this quote inspires me to create new ideas and think of other ways in which things could be done in a more equitable, inclusive and fair way.
What do you do at The Storefront?
In my role as a coach, I make sure that folks have the support they need in order to achieve their aspirations. My role involves building trust with community members, facilitating connections and having a thorough knowledge of services and training supports available in the community. I do this by connecting them to wrap around services such as housing, settlement, food security, skills development, and any other resources they are looking for. Thus, practicing a holistic approach to the support folks receive at The Storefront.
How did you come to work at The Storefront?//What did you do prior to working at The Storefront?
As a teenager, I joined a group for Latin girls, where I eventually became a mentor and youth leader there, overlooking the program and facilitating the workshops held by youth. There, I developed key core skills and a passion for working with the community. Following my heart, I went to George Brown College to complete the Community Worker program, where I did various placements. I worked with the City of Toronto to improve certain neighbourhood areas and also worked on parent engagement at TDSB. These experiences led me to apply to The Storefront as a Community Resource Specialist and later on, transitioning to the Project Lead – Community Resource Connections Coach role.
What does it mean to you to be part of a Community Backbone organization?
Being part of a Community Backbone Organization is very special to me because it informes my work by providing a bigger picture perspective of the evolving and ever-changing community that we work with. I like the Community Backbone Organization approach as it is an approach that values the collective impact that different keyholders in a community can make if they work together. It is very motivating to be a part of an organization that works with individuals at the micro level, but is also working in collaboration with grassroots groups, community organizations, and other key stakeholders to help facilitate work around systems change at the macro level.
I personally feel very passionate about how much importance it is given to sharing knowledge within the Community Backbone Organization approach. In my personal life, I intentionally share knowledge with folks who could benefit from it. In my role as a coach at The Storefront, I share knowledge about community resources and services, and I can see the difference that being informed makes in people’s lives. Now, if that is done at the organizational level amongst organizations, grassroot groups and local change makers, that is where there is a big potential for systems change work to take place. Working in an organization that is actively working around this, gets me really excited!
My favourite book is a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez titled ‘100 Years of Solitude’.
What do you enjoy most about working at The Storefront?
Definitely being able to connect resources to the folks who need it. I remember a time where Pop-up CRS Desk was held at the local library and one of my coworkers met a lady and her son, who were both newcomers. We were able to provide the two with more information to the resources they need, and the two came to The Storefront the next day, where they were able to connect to an employment counselor, a housing worker, and a settlement worker. It’s a memorable story to me because the lady came to The Storefront two to three times a week to connect to these resources, and all of which was possible because of Pop-up CRS Desk.
What is your favourite food?
My favourite food is Mexican food!
What is a project that you are working on at The Storefront?
An initiative that I have been working on is Pop-up CRS Desk, where community resource specialists head to different areas in the community. The idea is to make ourselves accessible to not only people who walk into The Storefront, but also in different areas of the community, such as the library, local food banks, and shelters. It’s important to be able to go to where the community is, rather than just hoping that they walk into The Storefront.
I have also been focusing on outreach, where I work on creating systems for The Storefront staff to do outreach more effectively. I help build relationships with community partners and agencies, invite the staff to attend outreach based on the relevance to their work, and ensure that The Storefront is present in the community by bringing resources and flyers to events
Apart from your work at The Storefront, what are some side projects or hobbies you have outside of the office?
I like going out for walks and when I feel creative I like writing poetry or drawing.
If someone were looking to join the team at The Storefront, or looking for work in a role similar to yours or in the nonprofit sector in general, what advice would you have for them?
I would say that there is nothing like doing what you love everyday. The non-for profit sector is a field with a great variety of opportunities that allow a lot of space for creativity. Be creative, be innovative!
Favourite place you’ve traveled/why?
I have not travelled much around the globe, however my favourite place to visit is my home city. It helps keep my roots close to me and spend time with my family who is still there. There is nothing like family time, good weather and amazing food!
What is on your wish list for the next five years?
I want to continue to help connect people to the opportunities and resources they need daily. I also want to assist them in creating their own resources so that the community and the residents within it can become more sustainable. As a backbone organization, I hope to see The Storefront continue to help make connections within the community and community partners to build resources together.
I always wanted to work in the settlement field to support newcomers in Canada and I am excited to say that I will be doing some work in that area while still being a part of the Storefront.
Personally, I would like to travel more to places that I have not been before and learn them. I also hope to continue working on furthering my education in the next couple of years.