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International Volunteer Day: Raising awareness on issues that matter

| Categories: Student Success, Our People, Events & Celebrations

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December 5 marks International Volunteer Day – a global celebration of volunteers. To celebrate this special day, Grade 12 student Nazifa Nawal shares her experience working as a student volunteer at Britannia Secondary.

My name is Nazifa Nawal – president of the Britannia Leo Club, member of the Britannia Student Council, and chair of the Britannia Youth Committee. I was born and raised in Dhaka, Bangladesh and moved to Canada when I was eight years old. In my home country, I was raised in a very community-oriented environment. All aspects of my life were connected to others – and supporting each other was one of the most important values.

I have always valued leadership and giving back to my community. When I was young, I used to take care of my little cousins and teach them how to read and write. However, my real volunteering journey started back in 2017 – the year I started at Britannia Secondary.

At Britannia, I have always felt welcomed and appreciated. That is the key reason why I felt the need to give back to my community. On my first day as a Grade 8 student, I was welcomed by a group called the “Link Crew Leaders” – a senior student group that mentor’s grade 8’s.

When I got the opportunity, I started volunteering as a Link Crew Leader so I could become that familiar face for new students. Soon after, I joined several clubs at school and then started volunteering at after-school programs through the Britannia Community Schools Team and summer day camp programs at the Strathcona Elementary School. The more I volunteered, the more I realized how much I value helping others.

For me, volunteering is very rewarding because it can be a space to raise awareness on issues that matter. As a member and volunteer of the Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) committee, we strive to create a safe and inclusive environment at Britannia. I can learn about other people's experiences, but can also share my own, which helps take a burden off my shoulder.

I think volunteering is a great way to give back to those around me. It makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger. Volunteering has also taught me to further enhance my leadership and teamwork skills and to become a better version of myself. I have been able to learn more about the world around me and how I can contribute to change.

As a settler, I am privileged to be part of this community and being able to carry out all my activities on the unceded, and stolen territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and səlil̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ nations, and other Halkomelem speaking peoples who have held rights and responsibilities on this land.

On December 5, take a moment to appreciate those who have lent their time and efforts to others. Happy International Volunteer Day!

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