My last day at the Welcome Centre was on March 4th. Today, I stayed from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM, thus completing 20.5 hours in total at the centre. When I walked in this morning, once again, I was greeted by the wonderful and friendly staff! I sure will miss working with these lovely people.
8:00 AM – 11:30 AM
I signed in with Mohsen, and he asked me to help out with the portables once more. With the overflowing number of donations that come in to the Welcome Centre, there is always more work to be done at the portable. I was feeling more motivated than usual today. Perhaps it was because of my experience with the Syrian visitor yesterday, and because today was my last day at this place. I wanted to make the most of this visit.
As always, I noticed an increase in donations from the last time I was here (Tuesday). There was a huge addition of toys and books in the room — and some really nice ones too! Furthermore, there was a great improvement that had been made in the organization of the room since last time. It is great to see that many of the volunteers have been working hard to keep this place looking its best. 🙂 Last time, with the new addition of hundreds of backpacks, there was practically no more space to keep all of them in neat rows. I saw that the layout had been reorganized. The backpacks were now neatly stacked on the ledge and some chairs at the back of the room. Someone had even taken the time to separate the bags based on what gender and what age the bags are generally meant for. I continued what the other volunteers had started, and put out more of the backpacks on display.
I worked in the portable with two other volunteers for a total of three and a half hours today. I think we got quite a lot accomplished. 🙂
11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
At around 11:30 AM, we all went back inside the main office. For almost an hour, we had to do some observation. Today seemed to be a slower, less busy day than usual. This was a little unexpected, as it was actually very nice out today yet, the place was much more packed on Tuesday – the day of the impending snowstorm.
Within this hour, two generous individuals came in to the office with bags full of donations in their cars! It was my job to direct them to the portables and help them take the things inside. 🙂
During this time, I saw a family come in and ask the staff some questions. One of the members of the family, a young girl who had completed her undergraduate studies in her country, was wondering how she should go about continuing her education and starting her Master’s here. The staff worker with whom she was consulting, I noticed, was very informative as well as very friendly. She was trying hard to give her as many options as possible. She was also very encouraging and supportive. I really admire this working style and people skills that I have been observing during my time here! 🙂 I personally love working with people, and I hope that in the future I can work in a setting where I can always interact with people in this way!
12:20 PM – 1:00 PM
At around 12:20, me and another volunteer (who I really hit it off with!) were given the task of sorting out three different piles of forms and putting them into separate packages.
We sat in the office, and talked about our other experiences with volunteering. I learned that she actually volunteers at the Welcome Centre weekly! Maybe I should consider doing something like that as well. She was also telling me about how she used to live outside of Ontario before, and that where she grew up, she was only ever surrounded by Caucasian people. That’s why when she moved to Mississauga just a couple years ago, she was surprised to see all the diversity! She seemed to really appreciate this multiculturalism, and that was one of the reasons she wanted to start volunteering more within this community.
I have always lived in this multicultural community, so this has always just seemed like the norm to me. It is so strange to think about living anywhere away from this place! When it was 1:00PM, it was time for me to leave. I couldn’t believe that this was the last day of my placement here! The time went by so fast!
So, I said my goodbyes to all the friends and acquaintances I made, and headed out, thus completing a total of 20.5 hours at the Welcome Centre.
Overall, I think this was a great, new experience for me. I love new experiences, because that is how we make the most of life! I have done tutoring jobs, have volunteered in many daycares and school settings but I haven’t had the chance to work in an organization like the Welcome Centre until now. 🙂 I got to learn a lot more about working in social services and human resources. I also really liked that I got to work in a team. I love working with people, and I loved feeling like I was part of this team, even if it was only for a couple of days! Furthermore, I think that after this experience, I have become more aware of the great amount of services that are offered in the community that I have lived in all these years. There are so many resources for help and support available for individuals in this community which I don’t think I appreciated enough before. I am glad that this has allowed me to open my eyes to what I have missed out on. With this new knowledge, in the future, I may be able to direct people I meet to these services. 🙂 Overall, this placement has allowed me to broaden my experience within my community, and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity!
Goodbye for now, Welcome Centre!