Volunteer Spotlight: Annie Qian

I immigrated to Canada 15 years ago, I spent most of my time studying for the first eight years. In the 3rd year of my university, I found myself a little bit lost on what I should do after I graduated. My professor and friends suggested I should do volunteering to find out what I like the most and what suits me the best. I was a shy and timid girl, and to be able to connect and work with groups of people sometimes is a challenge for me. 

With encouragement from my friends, I started my first volunteer job with a non-profit organization in Scarborough as a program assistant working with seniors and youth. Through this volunteer, I felt welcoming attitudes and encouraging words from the participants and my program leaders. It made me feel I was on the right path. Since then, I have volunteered at different non-profit organizations working with newcomers and refugees. 

I found what I loved the most, helping people to achieve their goals and adapt to the local community. Although stepping out of my comfort zone is a challenge, nonetheless, my heart for helping people will not change. I often encounter people asking what the difference is between volunteering and employment, I would say there is no difference except one is paid (wages), and one is not paid. But I would also say volunteer work will also pay you the experience you will need to find employment, will provide you with networking experience that you cannot find anywhere else, as well as unique friendships that you will not find somewhere else. I have seen many examples from my friends that the organization they volunteered with hired them in the end. 

Start applying as a volunteer, you may never know when a good opportunity will arrive at your door! I came across Volunteer MBC when I was searching for virtual volunteer opportunities in the Peel Region during the COVID-19 pandemic. When I applied for the position of Volunteer Engagement Advisor, I wasn’t sure how it would turn out. 

This new opportunity eventually bought me into a team of dedicated volunteers and leaders; not only I learned the mechanism of how to be an advisor but also team building and friendship. The advisor position is to help applicants to find the right volunteer opportunity. The right opportunity can be determined by their personal interests, location, availability and past experience. Once opportunities are picked, the advisor would send a detailed email to inform the applicants. 

Everything sounded simple during the orientation, but once I started to do the work, it was not easy as it seemed. Reading all the details of the posting description and navigating through the system, I am truly very thankful for the amazing work that the team put in behind the computer putting up all the volunteer postings; this made me less stressed. The team leaders always supported me through email or calls whenever I encountered problems. I also get catch-up calls, not only talking about the work I have but as a socializing and get-together time with the coordinators and the team members. 

It has been a great joy to be with this big family, and I will continue my journey with this family to keep helping more people to reach their dream goals. 

– Annie 

Stories like Annie’s make Volunteer MBC successful in its mission to improve lives through volunteering. But we need YOUR help! Volunteer drivers deliver meals to those urgently in need. To support them and our mission, click here

About Volunteer MBC 

Volunteer MBC is a registered charity which fuels purposeful connections between thousands of Peel residents and hundreds of community service organizations to respond to the community’s most pressing social issues, taking pride in its capacity-building activities done via volunteer management and learning services for nonprofits. Please visit www.volunteermbc.org for more information.  

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Comments (2) on “Volunteer Spotlight: Annie Qian”

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