Montreal

After spa treatment and a polished CV, Chez Doris clients look to the job market

The focus of the day was on how to prepare for the job market, but it wasn't all hard work: participants were pampered with spa treatments and makeovers, including finding the right clothing for a job interview.

Women's shelter partners with Montreal police and LaSalle College

The women participated in workshops on how to put together job applications and got pampered with spa services and a makeover. 1:23

Lisa McIntyre Therrien discovered Chez Doris when she was 18 and found herself homeless.

Now 39, she's preparing to sit the exams to get her high school equivalency diploma, with the end goal of becoming a nurse's aide.

McIntyre Therrien is one of four women who took part Thursday in a day-long series of workshops, learning, for example, how to properly fill out job applications.

"I'm here to learn how to create my CV," said McIntyre Therrien. "Basically, to learn how to go and look for a job."

The project was the brainchild of Montreal police Const. Loïc Nadal, a patroller who is part of the SPVM's urban brigade. He sought the expertise of LaSalle College and went to Chez Doris to find willing participants.

Esthetician students at LaSalle College put their newly learned skills to the test by offering the workshop participants spa treatments. (Sarah Leavitt/CBC)

Another participant, Hanadi Abu Sa'ad, arrived in Montreal from Jordan in 2017.

"I came to Canada alone, so I had no experience. Thank God I found Chez Doris," she said.

Abu Sa'ad says she's working to improve her English and to learn French — something that isn't easy — to prepare herself for the job market in Montreal.

The day's events weren't all hard work. Participants were pampered with spa services, and each got a makeover, including finding appropriate clothes for job interviews.

The ideas behind the project: to gain confidence, to help with setting goals and to learn how to develop strategies on how to reach those goals.

"You're never too old to be able to get your life together," McIntyre Therrien said.