Following the recommendations from fellow classmates, Hanna Domingo was looking for a meaningful internship when she reached out to Sam’s Place to learn about the volunteer program. After successfully securing a place in the program, Domingo was able to grow many skills and left a great impression on her peers and staff through her dedication and leadership.
Located in Winnipeg’s Elmwood neighbourhood, Sam’s Place is a volunteer-run café with fair trade products and second-hand books for sale that operates as a social enterprise under the umbrella of Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) in Manitoba.
Sam's Place offers mentorship and job training for youth to gain employable skills and experience. Though volunteering looks a little different throughout the pandemic, opportunities are still available.
“My high school is not like a traditional school,” Domingo said, explaining that the internship program is an important part of Seven Oaks Met School. As a Grade 11 student, she can work two days a week at various internships, most recently at Sam’s Place.
Because of her interest in gaining experience in as many work fields as she can, Domingo jumped at the opportunity to work in food services. In October, before the implementation of strict provincial restrictions for businesses, Domingo began her internship.
MCC photo/Rebecca Janzen
“It’s not super stressful,” Domingo shares talking about the learning curve of working at Sam’s place in many roles around the café.
“She’s trained in all areas and does exceptionally well in all,” said Laura Murray, Sam’s Place’s youth and volunteer engagement coordinator. Murray added that Domingo has made great progress from when she started at Sam’s Place.
Her first role was in the dish pit, and since then Domingo has learned many different positions in the café including fulfilling orders, serving, assisting with retail, and her favorite role, working front of house as cashier and barista.
From her neat writing visible on the signs, menus and thank-you cards for customers, to the warm food and drinks she prepares for the customers, Domingo is dedicated to her role at Sam’s Place.
MCC photo/Rebecca Janzen
Domingo’s keen awareness of what needs to be done and her ability to help other volunteers in their training has made her a great addition to the program, said Murray.
“It’s pretty fascinating to see how each of us is slowly building skills,” said Domingo. “It’s a fun learning experience.”
“It’s pretty fascinating to see how each of us is slowly building skills,” said Domingo, reflecting on her own experience and from witnessing other volunteers learn new skills. “It’s a fun learning experience.”
Along with developing her work skills at Sam’s Place, Domingo has been able to learn more about MCC’s work and what it is like to be a part of a social enterprise.
“It’s a great program. It’s not just focused on the business, it’s focused on helping volunteers build their skills.”
Though her internship looks different than participants from before the pandemic, Domingo has been able to utilize this opportunity for growth. While balancing her training and navigating extra health and safety precautions due to COVID-19, Domingo has been a great addition to the Sam’s Place team, said Murray.
Domingo also had the opportunity to enjoy it too. The barbecue pulled pork or the triple grilled cheese sandwich and a hot matcha latte are now on the list of her favourite foods to order at Sam’s Place.
To learn more about the café and volunteer program, visit http://sams.place