I moved to Canada from Dubai in 2014. In doing so, I kept in mind what I’ve always believed, that volunteering can be a great way to settle into a new community, meet people, and learn valuable skills.
It was my dream to make a difference to Canadian society upon my emigration, and in 2015, I volunteered for five months in Erin Mills Medical Clinic where I communicated with people by phone as a means to respond to their questions. This gave me an immense pleasure, because there were some senior citizens who were not able to speak any other language except their native tongue, so I communicated with them in their language. Fortunately, I am multilingual, which can be a great advantage in volunteering.
In 2016, I received an email from East Mississauga Community Health Centre Lamp Inc. to join their team as a volunteer and I was ecstatic! I started working in EMCHC and I enjoyed volunteering and it was great to have such a meaningful experience in life. They had a broad spectrum of patients, and because I was helping others virtually daily, I felt needed in society.
I was assigned for a range of tasks that included calling patients who were more than 55 years old to ask them different questions to update information in their files. Not only did it boost my self-esteem, but also other people benefited too. It was a great opportunity to improve myself, others, and my new community.
I was blessed by God to help people by obtaining opportunities one after another, because after volunteering 6 months at EMCHC, I received an email from Community Connection that indicated a volunteering opportunity with Volunteer MBC in July, 2018. I started as a volunteer engagement assistant, and in that role, I was helping to match volunteer opportunities to clients with established timelines. I would communicate information (including specific recommendations) via e-mail or in person after browsing online database to search for volunteer opportunities. This volunteer opportunity super-charged my existing skills, while helping me build new ones such as time management, analytical approach, decision-making, planning, and presenting.
I want to suggest to those who have never volunteered: find an organization that matches your passion and just get started. Organizations are always looking for volunteers, ‘And you’ll learn about those opportunities once you open that door and reach out. You can be heavily involved or an occasional volunteer. Just do something you love to do and enjoy doing with others.’
I am incredibly grateful for all the volunteer opportunities in Peel region to date; those were so gratifying and powerful that I feel like I’ve paid rent on a penthouse! Quoting the late, great heavyweight boxer Muhammad Ali, “Service to others is the rent you pay for your room here on Earth.”