I believe that whatever I have is God’s gift to me, and that whatever good that I do is my gift to God and to my fellow men.

I came across the Catholic Centre for Immigrants on social media. There I learned that the centre is committed to helping newcomers, most especially those who have been displaced by either war or persecution. I was deeply touched by this mission, so I volunteered with CCI. I am truly grateful to them for accepting me as I really want to help contribute to this noble goal.

It’s been so spiritually fulfilling to be a volunteer with CCI for almost a year now. They have been doing an amazing job not merely by assisting immigrants in their needs, but also by providing them opportunities to thrive and become happy and productive residents of the Canadian society.

There is great joy in doing even the most simple things for the organization’s clients like welcoming them, handing them snacks, and talking and playing with them during in-person activities like the Summer in the Capital and Picnic in the Park events. I get to see how their eyes light up and feel safe and warmly accepted. I love it when they smile and try to express themselves.

It is difficult to adjust and live outside their home countries, their comfort zone, so they need all the help that they can get. I believe that being there for them to offer humble assistance and consolation can make a lot of difference in their lives.

Aside from the social interactions, I also got the opportunity to do data-entry work last Christmas season. Even helping out in registering the clients’ names for some wonderful projects CCI has, like Toy Mountain, gives joy to volunteers like me knowing that the deed would benefit the newcomers.

On a regular basis, I conduct English Conversation Circles (ECC) with immigrants to help them learn and speak English. As a former teacher, I find this volunteer work truly gratifying. Every week, I prepare presentation slides to make their ECC experience more enjoyable and productive. Hearing them gradually speak the language, albeit on baby steps, makes me happy.

I am also a newcomer here in Canada, but I don’t see this as a hindrance to helping others. I believe it’s the willingness to serve that counts. Indeed, it is in giving that we truly receive. I am so blessed to be part of the CCI volunteers. – Ren Iporac