The first time I personally worked and met the faces behind Volunteer MBC was during the ChangeTheWorld - Ontario Youth Volunteer Challenge (CTW) in 2012. As a member of the Brampton Mayor’s Youth Team (MYT), we were preparing for the campaign with volunteer events and alongside Volunteer MBC’s initiatives. MYT members, including myself, were asked to be on our local television station, Rogers TV, to speak about CTW and youth volunteerism. I recall this as my first time meeting with Carine Strong, Executive Director of Volunteer MBC. This was my first on-camera debut and I remembered feeling anxious. Thankfully, Carine was encouraging and made me feel at ease. You could say that from that moment on, the rest was history. Volunteer MBC and MYT had a strong relationship through our endeavours. One of our biggest collaboration efforts that year was Peel Region’s closing CTW event - a soccer game, park clean up, and a collection of sporting goods to be donated to an orphanage in Ghana by a former MYT member.
Margaret Mead once said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." This quotation resonates with me wholeheartedly. Changing the world, as daunting as the notion is, should be seen as what I can do at the individual level rather than focusing on what I can’t do at a larger scale. Together, these "I can do's" quickly add up, gaining momentum, and formulating the change over time.
Personally, volunteering has become my release and second home. My parents immigrated to Canada before I was born for a fresh start like many families here in Peel - a multifaceted and wonderful place to live. The experiences I've had as a volunteer are ones that I'll cherish forever. More importantly, I’ve met inspiring and some of my closest friends through these networks. Volunteering is my second home because each person who volunteers their time also gives their heart, which is what family it all about.
I've had the privilege of working alongside the Volunteer MBC team in various forms and the takeaway is ten-fold. Their resources, wisdom, and kind-heartedness gave me the confidence and courage to dream big and to work towards creating social change. I was honoured to be a part of Volunteer MBC's Step Up Youth Volunteer Ambassador (SUYVA) team in its inaugural year in 2013. The program saw students across the Peel Region engaging their school communities in volunteerism and CTW. At the end of my term I was recognized for my contributions and I was also asked to make a keynote speech - a personal first - to future SUYVA members. Truly, it was a full circle.
The insight and inspiration I gained from working with Volunteer MBC paved way for some of my personal projects. In the past year, I co-founded the Peel Action Team for Health (advocacy for student health), and was recently accepted for a Youth in Action Grant from the United Way of Peel Region for the Girls Empowerment Movement (girl mentorship program). These personal successes would not be possible without the support from Volunteer MBC and the people I’ve had the honour of working alongside. From the bottom of my heart, I'd like to personally thank Volunteer MBC for their continuous support and love.
Linda is an exceptional volunteer and leader. This past summer, she joined Volunteer MBC as Coordinator, Youth Engagement, which was made possible through funding support received from Service Canada. During her term she worked on establishing and executing a strategy to engage post-secondary students (age group 19 to 24) in volunteer activities that will relate to their skills, interests and objectives within the Region of Peel. Linda is a second year university student at the University of Toronto studying International Development, and was a recipient of Volunteer MBC's ChangeTheWorld Recognition Award which was presented at their Volunteer Recognition Awards Event held in April 2013.
Written by: Linda Bui