Looking for opportunities to practice her skills and get involved in the community, Hoa joined YourCH as a volunteer late last year. In celebration of National Volunteer Week, Hoa tells us about her experience as a volunteer and how volunteering helps us be Better Together.
How did you start volunteering at YourCH?
It all started out of my curiosity about YourCH Reservoir and my interest in offering my skills and time while preparing for my future employment. Living locally, I go past YourCH on Blake Street every day taking my children to and from school. We walk through your garden, which my children dearly refer to as ‘the secret garden’ and talk about the kind of services you provide. Though we have never used YourCH’s services, the place has become so familiar to us.
Then when I was nearing the end of my diploma course in interpreting and translating, I started looking for opportunities to practice my skills and accumulate local experience. YourCH was the first place I thought about, and I jumped onto your website and filled in the volunteer form. And before I knew it, my journey with you started in November last year.
What kind of volunteer work have you done at YourCH?
My first job was to translate some of the main client documents and forms into Vietnamese, which I immensely appreciated and enjoyed.
I was then lucky to be involved in a program specifically designed to support residents’ social and emotional wellbeing. As part of training for the program, I got to attend workshops to practice how to listen to and connect with community members, how to recognize and deal with discrimination, how to offer support within our ability and how to work with YourCH.
What volunteering accomplishment are you most proud of?
Seeing the documents I translated on YourCH’s website gives me a good taste of contribution and pride. I hope that Vietnamese-speaking community members can now access the information they need in the language they understand best and find the services and programs that suit their needs.
What do you find most rewarding about volunteering?
Getting to know more community members and having a sense of belonging make my volunteering with YourCH so rewarding. I often feel that I am an outsider and do not have any connection with the neighbourhood and people around me, though I have lived here more than three years. Now that I have joined YourCH, I feel that I belong here and that I have a responsibility for our wellbeing and common interests.
How do you fit volunteering around your other activities/responsibilities?
I consider volunteering a pleasant break from studies. This is particularly true when I have writer’s block or encounter a problem at school. Spending time with people and doing a completely different job refreshes my mind and helps me regain my confidence.
What would you say to encourage someone who is thinking about volunteering?
You gain much more than what you give!