“I first started volunteering at Canal Alliance around March of this year. I started volunteering because of a class called service learning which required I volunteer at an agency. I was drawn to Canal Alliance because it was close to home and I was familiar with it. I started volunteering as an ESL teacher aide and helping with social services.
At first it was a bit overwhelming, but I started enjoying it more every day I went. I also have the support of the awesome staff. They made me feel welcomed and are always there if I need help. I remember one day I was tired and stressed from a long day of school, but once I got to to my ESL class it all went away. I left that night smiling because the students are awesome and lift your spirit. The students really put in their best effort to learn English and I saw them progress and learn more. It was great seeing the results of their hard work.
In social services I remember I had a client who needed a document to be translated urgently. We only had about half an hour because we closed at noon. I decided to stick around for a half hour more and finish translating. When we finished he asked how much he owed me. I told him our services were free. He was surprised, he said I was a lifesaver, thanked me and left. Seeing how something small like translating can really help someone motivates me to keep volunteering.
Soon my class ended and summer started, which meant more work and summer classes. I didn’t want to stop volunteering because I knew they needed me, and I really enjoyed helping my community. I decided to keep volunteering on a weekly basis.
Volunteering has changed my perspective of how much help is needed in the community. I think volunteering has also made me a more compassionate person. I connect with the work that Canal Alliance does because my parents themselves are immigrants. When I help the clients, it reminds me of when I help out my parents with translating and filling out forms. So, when I volunteer it’s as if I’m helping my family.”