About

Dotted Line

Eastman Immigrant Services is funded by the Governments of Canada and Manitoba, and has been supporting newcomers and immigrants in Southern Manitoba for 20 years. In addition to working with newcomers EIS is invested in working together with community partners to support welcoming newcomers to Eastern Manitoba.

Our Staff

Gwen Reimer | Program Director

Languages spoken: English, Low German,

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Gwen has lived in Canada all her life but loves the cultural diversity of the country. She received a bachelor’s degree in Biblical Studies in 2013 and taught English as a Second Language for 15 years before she started her role as the Program Director for Eastman Immigrant Services. The time in the classroom impacted her love and understanding of different cultures and gave her a greater awareness of the joys and challenges of newcomers to Canada. Gwen and her husband live in Blumenort, MB, love to ride motorcycle and have two boys. She loves to read, garden and travel.

Marina Klassen | Program Director Assistant

Languages spoken: English, High German,

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Marina has been with Eastman Immigrant Services since 2006 and has enjoyed meeting newcomers from all around the world, assisting them with various settlement needs. She was born in Steinbach, but has lived outside of Canada for over 20 years. She studied overseas and has worked in an international organization in Vienna, Austria. Marina enjoys traveling, and has visited over 30 countries.

Inna Kristinkova | Administrative Assistant

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian,

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Inna loves to learn about new cultures, religions and international cuisine and has a master’s degree in Philology. She adores working with people, especially in a diverse community. In Ukraine, Inna worked as a personal assistant, English Camp Manager, guest relation agent in a hotel, and as a travel advisor at Champion League in Kiev with Real Madrid fans. She also enjoyed the experience of working in 5-star hotel in Dubai as a guest experience agent. Inna likes to learn new things and travel.

Amber Reitsma | Communications

Languages spoken: English

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Born and raised right here in southeast Manitoba, Amber has enjoyed life in Canada. As a young girl, she did not experience much cultural diversity around her, but moving to the big city of Ottawa for university changed that for her in the best way possible. Amber received a bachelor’s degree in English and Communications in 2007 from Carleton University and has been working in the communications/public relations field ever since.  She began working as the Communications Coordinator on a contract-basis with the Steinbach Chamber in 2016, and started doing the same for EIS in 2020.  Amber, her husband, and three children live in the country between Steinbach and La Broquerie. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, gardening, chasing chickens and chauffeuring her children to all the things.

Erna Friesen | Settlement Facilitator

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, German,

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Erna was born in Paraguay to Canadian parents and moved to Canada at the age of 7. She still vividly remembers the joys and struggles of adapting to a new culture. She lived in Canada until 2007 when she, along with her husband and 3 children moved to Bolivia for 10 years to work for a Canadian Mission Organization. It was there that she once again experienced the joys and struggles of adapting to a new culture. She has a Diploma in Biblical Counseling and gathered a wealth of understanding and experiences in getting to know several different people groups and languages.

Theo Muthumwa | Settlement Facilitator

Languages spoken: English, French, Swahili, Lingala, Kinande,

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Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Theo arrived in Canada in 2009. He graduated with a Health Care Aide Certificate from University of St. Boniface and completed a Bachelor of Peace & Conflict Transformational Studies and Biblical Studies at Canadian Mennonite University. He also graduated with a Master of Arts in Counseling Ministry at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary in 2020, and holds both a Bible Study and Early Childhood Management Diploma. Theo is a church planter with Mennonite Brethren Church of Manitoba and a pastor of Philadelphia Miracle Ministries since 2013. Previously, Theo has worked as a Health Care Aide, a Residential Support Worker, and as an Educational Assistant in the French School Division (DSFM). Theo is married and has three sons and one daughter. He likes to help newcomers with their integration into the Canadian system and enjoys providing counseling services and assisting people in his community. In his free time, you might find Theo playing soccer or reading a good book.

Michael Keller | Settlement Facilitator

Languages spoken: English

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Michael was born and raised in Winnipeg. After high school, he moved to Southern Ontario to live and study at the Toronto School of Business. After 6 years in Ontario, Michael moved back to Winnipeg to complete a degree at the University of Manitoba. After graduating from the U of M , he moved to South Korea to teach English. There he met his wife and their daughter was born. After 7 years in South Korea and the Philippines, Michael returned to Canada with his family. In his spare time, Michael enjoys spending time with family, traveling, meeting with friends, and playing/watching sports.

Mozhgan Shaygan | Settlement Facilitator

Languages spoken: English

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Catherine Chlopecki | Settlement Facilitator (Interlake)

Languages spoken: English

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Catherine is originally from Manitoba, having moved back here three years ago and now resides in the Interlake, just outside of Gimli. She has a background in Social Services and holds a certificate in Family Mediation from the Justice Institute in British Columbia. Catherine has extensive experience working with Indigenous people, families and children in various capacities. Catherine and her husband have two daughters, four grandchildren and an enormous dog! When she’s not working, you can find her enjoying canoeing, camping, and gardening.

Barb Plett | Employment Facilitator

Languages spoken: English

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Barb was born and raised in Canada but moved several times as a child. Each new place had its own culture and she learned to adapt and discover the nuances of each new place. She graduated from Red River College with a diploma in Business Administration and has several years of experience as an Administrator. Barb enjoys learning new things and her desire to grow and learn about new cultures developed from traveling and working with an international organization. She is passionate about helping immigrants find meaningful work in Canada. Barb resides in Linden, MB with her husband. In her spare time, she enjoys baking, watching a good movie, spending time with family, and hanging out at home.

Komal

Komal Mahant | Volunteer & Integration Coordinator

Languages spoken: English, Hindi, Gujarati,

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Komal is from incredible India. She has completed her Master of Science in mathematics, Bachelor of Education from Sardar Patel University, India, Diploma in I.T. , and a diploma in Business Administration (from England). She was assistant lecturer in business mathematics in Sardar Patel university, India. Komal also obtained a Child Care Assistant certificate from Red River College. Her passion is working with children and helping to meet their needs. She is interested in working with different culture communities. She loves to cook international food, play with children and listen to music.

Joelle Klassen | HIPPY Program Coordinator

Languages spoken: English

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Joelle Klassen joins Eastman Immigrant Services as our first-ever Coordinator of the new HIPPY Program (Home Instruction for Parents of Preschool Youngsters). She has a Bachelor of Education from the University of Manitoba and a Certificate of TESL from Providence College. Joelle’s passion for teaching led her to teach middle years in Hanover School Division for nine years and ESL through Red River College for five years.  Born and raised in Manitoba, Joelle’s experiences of travelling and teaching English has drawn her in to the growing multicultural community of her hometown. She now enjoys the country life near Grunthal with her husband and two kids. You can usually find Joelle working in her garden, crafting, or sitting on her deck with her dog and a good book.

Angela Plett | HIPPY Home Visitor

Languages spoken: English

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Marcel

Marcel Marinho | Eastman Region Immigration Partnerships Coordinator

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Portuguese,

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Marcel was born in Brazil, graduated from University of Wales in Missional Leadership and has a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. Former CEO for a non-profit organization in Brazil, Marcel arrived in Canada in 2017 with a wealth of knowledge in community development. He loves diversity and trying out foods from different cultures. Learn more about Eastman Region Immigration Partnerships.

Rene

Rene Schulz | SWIS Worker

Languages spoken: English, High German,

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René was born and raised in Germany. He moved to Canada in 2006 and completed his high school diploma. He pursued Biblical Studies in Germany.

Back in Canada he attended Providence University to complete his M.A. in TESOL. In 2018 he went to Japan for a year to teach English as a Second Language (ESL). Through his studies and international experience, he is fully aware of all the hardship and challenges that newcomers face when moving into a new country. René is married and has two children. He enjoys connecting with children and teenagers. His hobbies include LEGO, running, Kendo, and board games.

Yana Muntian | SWIS Worker

Languages spoken: English, Spanish, Russian, Ukrainian,

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Yana was born in Ukraine and moved to Canada in 2022. As a newcomer herself, she is keenly aware of the feelings and challenges that can arise and is eager to help newcomers with any challenges they may experience. Yana completed a Bachelor’s Degree in History. She enjoys working with people and helping them explore and discover themselves and the world from a new perspective. Yana’s hobby is travelling, especially to ancient cities with a great history.

Jessie Towns Badiuk | SWIS Worker

Languages spoken: English

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Jessie grew up in Manitoba and completed her schooling here as well. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in Psychology in 2013 as well as a Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2016. Prior to working for Eastman Immigrant Services, Jessie worked as a Child Development Consultant in Ontario, working with families to overcome barriers and navigate complex systems. She lives with her husband and two kids in Steinbach and loves to spend time outside with her kids, taking road trips, and going boating, fishing, and camping.

Sarah Garbett | SWIS Worker (Interlake)

Languages spoken: English

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Sarah was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and went to college to become a Social Service Worker. She moved to Manitoba in 2018 and has worked and volunteered in a variety of community and social service settings serving children and families, women, employment and housing needs, and more. In her spare time, Sarah enjoys outdoor activities such as camping, spending time with family, and growing her skills in new hobbies like crocheting and gardening.

Opportunities

OpportunityClosing Date

Settlement Partner (Volunteer)

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Settlement Partner (Volunteer)

The Settlement Partner Program is designed to match an Eastman resident with an individual who has recently settled in the area. Partners assist newcomers in learning about the community and about Canadian culture.

Primary Responsibilities
– Introduce newcomer to resources and activities in the area
– Assist newcomer in understanding Canadian culture
– Provide friendship and encouragement

Qualifications and Skills
– Ability to work with individuals from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds
– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
– A valid and current criminal record check may be required

Location and Time Commitment
– Settlement partner meetings will be held at various locations in the community, depending on the preference of the applicant and volunteer
– 3-month commitment
– Meet 1-2 times per week
– 1.5 hours per meeting

One-to-One Citizenship Tutor (Volunteer)

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One-to-One Citizenship Tutor (Volunteer)

In order to become a Canadian citizen, each applicant must pass a test on various aspects of Canadian history, geography, and government. Many individuals appreciate the assistance of a tutor in their preparations for the test.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Familiarize yourself with the material in the ‘Discover Canada’ guide
  • Assist permanent residents who are applying for Canadian citizenship in their preparations for the citizenship test
  • Ensure that participants are aware of the citizenship test requirements and expectations

Qualifications and Skills

  • Ability to work with individuals from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
  • Strong time management and organizational skills
  • Ability to work independently and in a team setting
  • CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) 6 or higher, if applicable
  • A valid criminal record check may be required

Location and Time Commitment

  • Tutoring sessions may be held at the Eastman Immigrant Services office, or elsewhere in the community, depending on the preference of the applicant and volunteer
  • Minimum 6 week commitment
  • Meet 1-2 times per week
  • 5 hours per meeting

Language Buddy (Volunteer)

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Language Buddy (Volunteer)

This program is designed to match an English-speaking person with a newcomer who would like to improve their English-speaking skills and confidence levels.

Primary Responsibilities
– Help newcomers develop their English language skills
– Prepare materials and topics of discussion for each meeting
– Provide clients with feedback on their progress

Qualifications and Skills
– Ability to work with individuals from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds
– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
– CLB (Canadian Language Benchmark) 6 or higher, if applicable
– A valid and current criminal record check may be required

Location and Time Commitment
– Language buddy meetings may be held at the Eastman Immigrant Services office, or elsewhere in the community, depending on the preference of the applicant and volunteer
– 3-month commitment
– Meet 1-2 times per week
– 1.5 hours per meeting

Citizenship Class Facilitator (Volunteer)

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Citizenship Class Facilitator (Volunteer)

In order to become a Canadian citizen, each applicant must pass a test on various aspects of Canadian history, geography, and politics. Citizenship classes assist applicants in studying for this test.

Primary Responsibilities
– Lead citizenship classes to maximize student success on the Canadian citizenship test
– Prepare material for each class, based on the ‘Discover Canada’ guide
– Ensure that students are aware of the citizenship test requirements and expectations
– Track attendance and provide to program coordinator

Qualifications and Skills
– Fluent in English with a CLB of 8 or equivalent
– Ability to work with individuals from diverse ethno-cultural backgrounds
– Ability to instruct and offer guidance to groups of students
– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
– Strong time management and organizational skills
– Ability to work independently and in a team setting
– Previous teaching experience is an asset

Location and Time Commitment
– Classes will be held at the Eastman Immigrant Services offices
– 8-10-week commitment
– One hour of teaching time per week, plus additional preparation time

Interpreter (Volunteer)

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Interpreter (Volunteer)

Primary Responsibilities
– Provide unofficial oral (spoken) interpretation in various environments
– Translate documents into English

Qualifications and Skills
– Fluency (speaking, listening, reading, and writing) in the non-English language
– Fluent in English (speaking, listening, reading and writing) with min. English CLB of 8
– Excellent communication and interpersonal skills
– Previous interpreting and translation experience is an asset

Location and Time Commitment
– Interpretation may take place at the office or in the community
– Time commitment is on an as required basis. Availability can be discussed with the volunteer coordinator.

    Why Work With Us?

  • When we were newcomers to Canada, EIS welcomed us. When we needed to learn English to work, EIS helped us. When we applied for nomination to the province and for permanent residence, EIS supported us during the whole process. We love them.

    - Oscar Rada & Catherine Sanchez

How can We Help You?

We offer our services in a variety of languages: English, French, High & Low German, Russian, Portuguese, Spanish, Tagalog, Gujarati and Hindi.

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