Read the heartfelt story of Gomathi Narayan and her journey with Volunteer MBC.
I moved to Canada in the summer of 2019. My story is no different from thousands of other new immigrants. As many before me, I was eager to find a job and settle down as soon as I could. Once I landed a job, I realized that there were many unwritten rules all around me that I had to decipher if I wanted to integrate well into society. I had read a lot about how Canada was a metaphorical ‘salad bowl’ of culture, but sadly my experiences were quite different, and I often felt left out. At that time, I felt volunteering may be a wonderful way to meet new people outside of work as well as develop a better cultural understanding.
I had heard about Volunteer MBC through a partner organization, Indus Community Services. I applied for the position of Volunteer Engagement Advisor in the Referral team. That was the turning point I was waiting for, to say the least. Volunteer MBC was a blessing at a time when I was struggling to learn about the culture, build a network or even make new friends. I started volunteering in Feb 2021, and there has been no looking back since. The volunteering position involved identifying the right volunteering opportunities for those who had registered on the website and sending them a very detailed email on the roles that were ‘picked out’ for them after carefully reviewing their application, their interests, and preferences and matching that to a particularly large database of volunteering positions.
During the initial training period, I was amazed at the amount of work that went behind putting together a detailed description of the role, the process of identifying the right opportunity for each volunteer without overwhelming them, and most of all, the respect they had for both the volunteer and the organization in making sure neither of them felt short-changed.
We had bonded well through our ‘catch-up’ calls. It became more than just an act of volunteering to me; Volunteer MBC became a very integral part of my week. I would start looking forward to our bi-weekly meetings and the most interesting ‘round-up’ of that week’s events. I simply couldn’t get enough. And through our various interactions with the Volunteer MBC’s management team, Coordinators, and other VEAs, we had built great camaraderie and respect for each other. I can say with absolute confidence that volunteering through VolunteerMBC was the single most defining move that helped me build a solid network, gain confidence, and develop a deep cultural understanding and respect for the diverse Canadian society.