Today is International Volunteer Day, a time to recognize the role that volunteers play in helping to build communities. This year’s theme, “Volunteers build Resilient Communities”, recognizes volunteers across the globe – with a special focus on local community volunteers – who contribute to making their communities more resilient against natural disasters, economic stresses and political shocks.
ISANS volunteers play an important role in helping newcomers settle and adapt to political, cultural, and economic changes in their lives. On International Volunteer Day we say, “thank you for helping immigrants build a future in Nova Scotia, and creating a community where all can belong and grow.”
To mark the day, we asked six of our volunteers to share why they volunteer.
Farida Abdelaziz – Community Connections Volunteer
“Volunteering to me means that I am positively contributing to my society, helping those who need my help and making sure I am putting any talents I have in use! I volunteer at ISANS because I know it helps many immigrants. Volunteering brings many values to my life like, feeling of satisfaction, appreciation of everything, cooperation, compassion and believing in others!”
Saeed Al Zoubi – Volunteer in Canada program Volunteer
“Being a volunteer means that you are offering something that is not required nor an obligation. You do not volunteer for the pursuit of a monetary prize or recognition, and it a great experience to have in life. I choose to be in Volunteering in Canada Program because ISANS staff better know my skills and interests and they provide me with the right opportunities which help me to build my skills and get the Canadian work experience also, the volunteer coordinator at ISANS is always encouraging us in a positive way to volunteer and I like volunteering because of ISANS and I enjoy volunteering as a group in special events and I won’t have all these opportunities without ISANS help. When I came to Canada I had no English, Volunteering made me learn a lot of English, I met new people, and now I got a chance to work at ISANS as a life skills worker.”
Ouroba Al Ahmad – Volunteer in Canada program Volunteer
“When I am volunteering I feel very comfortable, especially when I volunteer with kids. I feel so happy. I choose to register in Volunteer in Canada program because ISANS can help me to find a good place that fit me or fit my level of English, and also they have a lot of events that makes me know all the community around me. Volunteering makes me learn many things, such as how to deal with kids, how to get rid of my shyness, and how to engage in the community.”
Petra Davidson – Classroom Assistant Volunteer
“I am an immigrant myself, volunteering means doing something back to a country that has always been very good to me. Having lived abroad and in different places for half my life, I feel that my experience in settling in amongst different cultures, languages, and religions comes in handy when interacting with new arrivals to Canada. I’ve been a classroom assistant for 6 years. It is extremely gratifying when clients start to communicate in their new language. I feel very happy when I can make a small contribution to help people settling in in Nova Scotia.”
Sue Rosson – Practice Interview Volunteer
Volunteering means giving back. If I have knowledge or a skill that can help someone else, I am happy to share it. I volunteer at ISANS because I believe that immigrants enrich our community. The stories of their lives and their struggles to make a new life in Canada inspire me. Volunteering adds a new dimension to my life. Meeting people from all over the world opens up an increased understanding of different cultures and perspectives.”
Lisa Kamperman – Professional Mentorship Volunteer
“Volunteering has always been a part of my life. I feel that if we can help, we should help others. Volunteering with ISANs has a special meaning for me. My father immigrated from the Netherlands with his parents at the young age of 3. Growing up I was close with my grandparents, and learned a lot about their experiences in Germany during the war. It was instilled in me from an early age to be thankful for living in a country like Canada. My family has always volunteered, whether it be through community groups, the volunteer fire department or our local church. And when I realized that I can offer assistance with interviewing and offering support through mentoring while newcomers are in search of employment, I knew that this was the volunteer role for me. Many community members and strangers helped my grandparents to settle into their new home and community in many ways, so many years ago – this is a small way that I can give back on behalf of my family. Volunteering helps me connect with my community in a purposeful way. I feel very proud of the small part I am playing to make our growing community a welcoming and caring environment. We need to increase our population to keep Nova Scotia vibrant and to help us maintain our quality of life and I see this as a small way that I am able to help make our newcomers feel welcomed and to let them know that we are happy they have chosen Nova Scotia. I have met many impressive, highly qualified and educated individuals who are ready to contribute to their new Canadian home, we should be thankful they have chosen us.”