Volunteers make up the backbone of the work we do. Last year, more than 1,300 volunteers and sponsors helped the Catholic Centre for Immigrants deliver programs and services to more than 6,500 newcomers to Ottawa.

Volunteers help newcomers learn a language, access community services, navigate the city, attend cultural events and more. But most importantly, volunteers help newcomers settle. They help refugees and immigrants feel safe and connected to their new communities.

Ria explains why she volunteers with the Catholic Centre for Immigrants.

Q: Why do you volunteer?

A: I volunteer because I recognize I’ve had a privileged life through the generosity of others. I was given up for adoption and life could have been different if it hadn’t been for the generosity of spirit of those who adopted me. It makes me feel good and I believe it’s my responsibility. It’s one way to show my gratitude.

Q: What do you do?

A: I’m a facilitator for English Conversation Circles at Catholic Centre for Immigrants. For 30 years, I was a hospital chaplain, and I traveled the road with people from many different cultures. It’s been a rich life.

Q: How has volunteering enriched your life?

A: Let me count the ways! I’ve volunteered all my life in all different kinds of agencies. My life has been enriched in countless ways — by people I’ve met, by skills I’ve learned, by the sense of making some difference, how ever small. I’ve always been involved in one way or another with marginalized people.