How A Volunteering Initiative Changed Abeera’s Life

Volunteering with various different organizations inspired Abeera Shahid to start her own council called the Brampton’s Multicultural Youth Council. “After coming to Canada, I lost touch with parts of my culture and was in the process of re-learning my native language.  Brampton’s Multicultural Youth Council has become one of the most significant accomplishments of my life”, says Abeera. 
 
It was not easy, starting her own group required a lot of persistence and time. Abeera recruited her own executive team, applied for a grant, and organized four different events. The “Youth in Action” grant that she applied for helped her to put her ideas in action. Abeera credits Carine Strong, Executive Director, Volunteer MBC for helping her with the idea and showing her the way to make it happen. Her project was called “Hidden Cultures”, a series of four interactive workshops focused on discovering different regions such as Eastern Europe, Africa and more!  This project helped Abeera to learn skills in marketing, communications, event management and strategy.  “When it all came together; it was amazing to see students in my community be impacted through something I helped bring together. I still run the Multicultural Council and I can’t wait to see the impact we are going to have in the Peel community”, says a very passionate Abeera, excited to see her initiative take form.    
 
From a participant in volunteer activities, to a leader who initiated a movement to build the community by providing others with a chance to volunteer, Abeera has accomplished a lot. However, that did not diminish her drive to volunteer for the community, she still volunteers on a regular basis at organizations like the Food Bank. Abeera believes that she has been fortunate to be useful to her community, which in turn has helped her achieve greater heights in her life. “I have been fortunate enough to be given the opportunity to lead the school’s Free the Children Club and also lead my council. I have gained so much from volunteering and I know it’s going to always be a part of my life”. 
 
Abeera’s small step of the volunteer initiative that she took has became a giant leap for giving back to humanity. The experience from her high school volunteer initiatives have given her the experience to continue her volunteer work in countries like Kenya making not only her community, but the entire country proud of her. 
 
She summarises her feelings with Dorothy Height’s famous quote, “Without community service, we would not have a strong quality of life. It's important to the person who serves as well as the recipient. It's the way in which we ourselves grow and develop.”
 
Abeera’s continuous engagement with her community combined with her integrity, courage, compassion and determination allowed her to win the Loran Scholarship. The country’s largest and most comprehensive four-year undergraduate award (valued at $100,000), providing young leaders of character with opportunities to develop their talents and work towards a better world.
 

Written by Staff Reporter