Vishal Shrivastava

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“Volunteerism – the best platform for personal and professional development.”

This was something that I have grown to wholly believe in, even with limited exposure to it while working in the corporate world.

With more than 16 years in Information Technology, I have worked for different multinational companies in the United States and India. Volunteering was always a matter of participation in corporate initiatives to give back to communities while raising the profiles of businesses locally and beyond. My job descriptions entailed putting in a certain number of volunteer hours which indeed was different from regular work, yet it taught me how to work with others, enhanced my ability to take direction and lead others, plus the importance of time management and personal dedication. And most of all, making connections and building relationships.

When I most recently emigrated from the USA to Canada, settling in Brampton, to my surprise, I found myself being introduced from the moment I cleared Canada Immigration and Customs to a culture that is so inclined towards helping newcomers through a combination of government and not-for-profit programs, many in fact partnerships. It was immediately obvious that a great number of volunteers are involved, people who openly welcomed my family to Canada and were sincerely concerned about how we would get on.

Such goodwill led to my inquiry about volunteering opportunities at Volunteer MBC’s office in Brampton. From the first meeting onward, I felt very welcome, and both staff and volunteers introduced me to opportunities for connecting with communities and their residents in Peel region.

I joined the referral team as a ‘Volunteer Engagement Assistant’, a position that enables me to meet with and explain to newcomers and citizens of all ages, and from a seemingly limitless diversity of backgrounds, about volunteering opportunities in Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon.

Volunteer MBC connects volunteers with suitable organizations and the positions that they offer. To accomplish that, I access the volunteer database, create volunteer ‘profiles’, and match them to appropriate opportunities within organizations where the volunteers we assist can contribute the most.

With my IT expertise, I am also involved in enhancing Volunteer MBC’s ‘Customer Relationship Management’ (CRM) software applications to establish a robust and scalable system, as a matter of continuous improvement of the way volunteers can be matched to suitable volunteering positions and easily apply for these.

For me, volunteering has become a deeply personal experience which gives me a wonderful feeling, that is, by helping others and giving back to the community so effectively through Volunteer MBC. I also have gained immensely in terms of learning how to communicate better with people of different ethnicities and backgrounds. I am grateful for the opportunities that Volunteer MBC continues to give me.