What kind of volunteer work have you done for Together Project?
I’m the group lead for one of the Welcome Groups. I do several home visits to the family that I’m matched with in order to talk to them and help them with anything they may need. Since the family and I share a language (Arabic), I have helped translate/interpret letters and documents addressed to them. As a newcomer myself, I am still exploring the city of Toronto and often share with them any nice places I think they might like.
Why did you decide to help out?
I have always loved volunteering and I often seek volunteer opportunities wherever I go. When I moved to Toronto in the summer of 2017, I was looking for oppurtunities where I could be most useful and when I found that Together Project often services Syrian refugees, I knew that I could offer translation and interpretation since I’m fluent in both English and Arabic. Also, as a newcomer myself, I thought that my personal experience may, in some way, be relatable and in some way, it was.
What do you hope to accomplish through your efforts?
I believe that all experiences are opportunities for growth and I guess getting involved was mainly because I wanted to achieve better integration for both me and the family involved.
How are you helping to build more welcoming communities in Canada?
On a personal level, I have been involved in bringing together a community of new parents in the condo building that I live in. Together with a group of mothers, we managed to create a community of more than 50 families who support each other in the journey of parenthood. I also like to plan occasional potlucks (usually around holidays) where I bring in friends and family for a day to connect and meet each other over a nice, shared meal.
Is there anything you would like to share with people who are thinking about getting involved?
Get involved even if all you have is some free time… a little can go a long way when it comes to volunteering and so be a part of it and offer a helping hand. There are sooo many newcomer families out there just looking for friends in the City.
Interview by Hussein El Akaber