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Volunteer Stories

I would like to express my deepest and sincere gratitude for ISSofBC’s volunteer program and the opportunities it has afforded me. As a volunteer I have twice served as an English conversation facilitator. This position has allowed me to use my skills as an English teacher for the first time since immigrating to Canada in 2008. In these classes I have been inspired by the diversity of different cultures that are represented in the class. My partners and I took advantage of this diversity and ran a class around a potluck where each person talked about the process of cooking their dish and its importance to them.

I have also served as a receptionist and general assistant to the volunteer program. This opportunity came to me while I returned to college to complete an Associate Degree in Communication and looked to move my career into a field that allows me to contribute to the community I live in. While I have over two years experience in an accounting office for the film and television industry, my time working with ISSofBC’s Volunteer Connections staff and the other volunteers at the Cottonwood office has been far more rewarding and illuminating for me. This truly has been an opportunity of upgrading myself and developing experience to continue to contribute to my community.

At ISSofBC I have found a sense of belonging. Not only has it been a means for me to gain experience in a field I want to continue in, but I have made friends in the process. It has truly enriched my experience as an immigrant and I expect it to be foundational to my future in Canada.

Lynn Liu–Tri-Cities

Volunteering for ISSofBC allowed me to gain a greater understanding of the issues surrounding newcomers, which is important for me in order to be successful in my career. I was truly happy that I could have a small part of assisting them and even assisting volunteers.

Volunteering also allowed me to gain a lot of experience in different areas while working with my mentor who I am grateful and honoured to have worked alongside with. She truly is inspirational. I have also met some great people volunteering at ISSofBC

Wana Wafa–Burnaby

I feel that my newcomer friend now has more of an awareness of the city and its amenities. I tried to help him achieve his goals by meeting with him and going to various venues, as well as helping him practise his spoken English.

integration isn’t an overnight process, so it is difficult to say whether he is more integrated as a result of his interaction with me, but I hope this is the case. As for his awareness of activities and services available in the community, I feel that he is now more cognizant of such things. As for what I have learned/gained from my interaction with the newcomer, I feel that I have gained a more nuanced understanding/appreciation of the social and economic hurdles he faces in terms of making a new life in Canada.

David–New Westminster

Since I have learned about the idea of volunteering in Canada I liked it very much. Volunteering means sharing with the society you live in, your skills to make things better. For me the fact that volunteering not only exists in Canada, but is actually very popular, is a sign of a high developed society. People are ready to share whatever they can do and to think about the needs of other people. This is something that matches my attitude to life and even to business pretty much.

In Odessa, in Ukraine I used to own my language school for the last 6 years. I am pretty sure, that if you want to be successful, first thing you need, is to learn how you can help people around you! So I applied as a volunteer and was very lucky to participate at many different events by ISSofBC.

During the last several months, I’ve been volunteering, I helped at the seminars and events organized by ISS. I was deeply touched, how much ISSofBC cares about people here giving them opportunities to get all kinds of necassery information, they need, for free. Settlement, jobs, language – the palette is very rich!

But my favorite type of volunteering here is my Conversation Circle, which I do weekly. I like very much this new challenge. My students come from all over the world – Iran, Russia, China…. Every time I learn so many new cultural details about their countries and about Canadian way of thinking and living. Which means: everyone is unique, so you really should learn more about it!

In China they say: it’s better to safe one life than to meditate for three years. So in my opinion this philosophy reflects in the best way, why it’s important to become a volunteer!