The Salvation Army - Salvationist.ca - Time for Change“Little did I know when I immigrated to Canada how The Salvation Army would change my life,” says Cyntra Seebaransingh (Photo: Timothy Cheng)

Time for Change

At The Salvation Army, Cyntra Seebaransingh knows she is part of a team that is a true reflection of Canada.

March 21, 2017 by Cyntra Seebaransingh


Being on time is critical to my profession as a project administration co-ordinator. I’m never late for meetings—except the one day when it really counted. On my way to an interview for a job at The Salvation Army, I exited at the wrong subway stop and was half an hour late. I was flustered and felt I had totally messed up my opportunity. But a sudden calm engulfed me as I entered the building. That, and the kind understanding of my interviewer, enabled me to land the job.

Looking back, I see that this didn’t happen by chance. It was just another step in a faith journey that shows no sign of ending.

Journey to Canada
That journey began five years ago when my family and I immigrated to Canada. While we loved our home in Trinidad and Tobago, Canada offered us hope of a better, safer life for our children. Having lived in Guelph, Ont., for two years in the late 1990s, we knew Canada to be a beautiful, multicultural and tolerant country. God seemed to pave the way for us: after acquiring our permanent residency status, my husband landed a job with his first application!

Unfortunately, being new to Markham, Ont., I didn’t know a soul and I was lonely. One day, I found myself surrounded by strangers in an unfamiliar shopping plaza. Then I spotted something reassuringly familiar: a Salvation Army thrift store. I gratefully entered and was greeted by the welcoming staff.

I started volunteering and was encouraged by my manager to apply for a part-time job. As a result, I became a member of a team that was a true reflection of Canada, a blend of ethnicities and cultures working for a common purpose— the success of the store.

More in Store
But success is not just measured in sales and the bottom line. The Salvation Army thrift store is like a second home to the many customers who visit daily. Most are known on a first-name basis to the store employees as well as to other customers, forging bonds that extend beyond the bricks and mortar. And whether you’re snagging deals, finding treasures, or sharing stories and memories, with every purchase you make, you’re helping the less fortunate in society.

I was proud to be a part of this store but it was beneficial to me as well, expanding my support base in Markham through meeting amazing, genuine people who added friendship to my life.

I realized how blessed I was, so I promised God that I would have a more active church life in 2016. But I never imagined when I started working at The Salvation Army’s territorial headquarters in Toronto how that would happen.

An organization so interwoven with the work of God helped me to keep my commitment. Every Thursday, there is a chapel service that I attend regularly. My faith deepens each week and I know I  am becoming a better person for it.

From volunteering at and working at the thrift store to my new position at headquarters, I have spent more than half my time in Canada associated with The Salvation Army. I love working at the Army and I see my work as a way of giving back to my adopted country.

God guided me to a new country and led me to The Salvation Army, exactly where I needed to be. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me next!

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