Did you know that Global Gathering Place partners with local universities to place student volunteers? This month, we spoke to two students from the College of Medicine Community Service Learning Project (CSLP).
Sarah and Raina both help out in our English classes, spending time with ESL students who need individual support to advance in their language journey. Like many of our volunteers, Sarah and Raina are closely connected to the newcomer experience in their own lives. Sarah is the child of immigrant parents and Raina came to Canada as an immigrant herself.
“It means a lot to me to be able to help the people who are in the position that I was once in, as an immigrant myself,” Raina said. “Coming to a new country with no social connections or knowledge on support resources made a rough journey of transition for me and my family. I remember when my mom started to take these LINC classes and tell me about how helpful it was for not just learning English, but also learning about Canada and meeting new people in the community. Being able to volunteer here and be a part in the language journey of our students is truly a rewarding experience for me, to be able to reflect on myself and ease the immigration journey of the students.”
Both Sarah and Raina are assisting in our online courses, helping students work through assignments and spending time with them one-on-one in break-out rooms if they need additional help with a particular skill or activity. Sarah looks forward to the time she spends with our students each week. “The overall attitude of the students has really stood out to me. They are always so kind and work so hard every week. It has been amazing to see how much progress students have made over the year, and it’s very fulfilling to be a part of their journey and progress,” Sarah said.
Sarah and Raina have also volunteered in other areas at GGP. Sarah helped the elementary school students in our afterschool Homework Help program this fall and remembers her time fondly: “It was much more than just helping students with their homework. The sessions foster a positive environment for learning and mentorship and give students an opportunity to socialize with their peers.” She said students would come to the program even when they didn’t have homework they needed help with, just to see the other newcomer children and connect with the volunteers.
Raina volunteered as a mentor, connecting with newly immigrated students one-on-one. She recalls being paired with a client who simply wanted someone to listen to the struggles they were facing and give them advice on finding peace in their new home. “From this experience, I was reminded of the importance of meeting new people and building social connections for newcomers to take care of mental health and feel included in the community,” Raina said.
Sarah says she has already recommended volunteering at GGP to a friend! Raina would recommend the experience to anyone as well: “Volunteering for GGP has been very fun and seeing the students improve is very rewarding. The hours are very flexible and there are various roles that you can take part in.”
Sarah and Raina are just two of the many ambitious young students volunteering with us this year. We are so grateful for the patience and energy our student volunteers bring to GGP’s programs and classrooms!
If you would like to volunteer with any of our programs, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org to express your interest.
Ride for Refuge is a fundraising bike ride or walk, held nationwide on October 1 to raise money for charities that support people seeking refuge from danger, hardship, and abuse. This year, funds raised through Saskatoon’s Ride for Refuge will support Global Gathering Place!