The summer student experience at DIVERSEcity includes learning about workplace culture and about the different types of work our staff does to support our clients in their success. This series of staff interviews will provide different glimpses of what life is like at DIVERSEcity. From interviews with members of our executive team to front line staff, we hope our interview series provides an interesting and holistic insight into our agency.
What is your name and role at DIVERSEcity?
My name is Sasikala Sridar. I am the Community Garden Coordinator for the Food Security Program.
How long have you been working at DIVERSEcity?
What inspired you to work here?
I love plants! They provide happiness to so many people. Clients in the program truly love this program. They are very thankful we are able to offer it. I get a lot of satisfaction from my work overall as I see the difference it makes in local lives.
How do you spend most of your work time?
Most of the time I am interacting with clients. I learn a lot from them and have the opportunity to share my skills, knowledge, and experience with them. Being with the garden members is my favourite part of the job. It is nice to get out of the office and spend time outside. Watching plants and clients grow is great.
What advice do you have for your clients?
My advice is that clients – particularly newcomers – should make an effort to get out of the house and expand their social circles more. It is scary to move to a new country especially if you do not know the language or the area but by making an effort to work with an agency like DIVERSEcity and getting involved with a program like the community garden or by volunteering, they will slowly gain confidence and slowly integrate into the community.
What advice do you have for someone interested in working in this field?
Everyone working in an agency like this should have empathy. Putting yourself in the client’s shoes is necessary at times to understand where they are coming from. There are lots of rules and regulations to follow but sometimes you have to make a judgement call on things.
What are some of the challenges?
There used to be theft in the garden which was an issue. This was mostly due to food insecurity which is a sensitive subject. It has to be dealt with carefully and some old unacceptable behaviours have to be unlearned.
What is the best thing about working at DIVERSEcity?
Working at DIVERSEcity gave me the opportunity to really get to learn about new cultures in an in-depth way. I work with people every single day who came from all over the world. By spending so much time with these people I get to learn so much.
What country/city would you like to visit?
I would like to visit Iceland as it is on my list of places to go. I think there is a lot of natural beauty there. However, I also want to learn about a genome mapping project they have. The project predicts the DNA of the whole of Iceland. I am very interested in learning more about this.
What movie have you watched lately?
Can you share something you are proud of or a success you’ve had at DIVERSEcity?
I am proud of the progress the garden program has made during my years here. I work with four to five hundred people and have mediated many issues. Over the years I have developed rules, policies, and procedures to make the garden program run much more smoothly.