Natalie Isber — Humans of Matthew House

Natalie Isber’s involvement with Matthew House began during the summer of 2014. Natalie was working full-time as an Assistant Manager at RBC, responsible for project management and communications in a credit risk operations department. During this time, she also volunteered weekly with Matthew House Front Line to help coordinate weekly resident orientations. These orientations provide residents the opportunity to learn key lessons about living in Toronto, such as transportation, the public services available and the importance of mental health and self-care. Natalie enjoyed participating in these conversations and supporting residents adapt to their new city.

In September of 2015, Natalie decided to return to school to complete her MBA. After a full calendar year of studying, Natalie received her MBA in Management of Technology & Innovation and returned to RBC. A little over a year after returning, she decided to resign from RBC in order to explore options in the nonprofit sector. During her time off, she reengaged with Matthew House to support the Spring Fundraiser at Hot Docs Theatre. After volunteering for a month and a half with Matthew House, a position became available with the Matthew House Refugee Hearing Program (RHP) and Natalie joined the RHP team as Program Coordinator.

The RHP provides free and voluntary hearings that mirror the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) hearing process with the aim of alleviating claimant fears, promoting emotional stability, and providing practical experience. Since Natalie joined the team as Program Coordinator, the RHP has averaged 17 hearings / month and the number of fully trained adjudicators has increased from 5 to 13. This increase will allow the RHP to expand and grow to serve a larger population of refugee claimants in Toronto.

Natalie most enjoys the opportunity to witness the direct impact that the RHP has on the lives of refugee claimants. “The feedback we receive from claimants consistently reaffirms the value of the RHP. Claimants have expressed that the RHP has clarified information about the IRB process and has increased both their confidence and feelings of preparedness in advance of their IRB hearing. I am so thankful and fortunate to be part of this innovative program.”

Outside of coordinating the RHP program, Natalie stays active by playing beach volleyball and stays mindful by practicing yoga.

If you want to learn more about the RHP and how you can get involved, reach out to Natalie at natalie@matthewhouse.ca.