KCR: Volunteering allows us to be present

These columns are contributed by the KCR Community Resources

Alex Fortier is originally from Ottawa and came to Kelowna three years ago and is already making a huge difference in her new home by being a Settlement Worker at KCR Community Resources and also helping with special events like the Okanagan Volunteer Fair.

“As a Settlement Mentor at KCR, I meet with a new immigrant to Canada,” explains Alex. “We explore Kelowna together, sharing the beautiful sights and events here while practicing speaking English. It has been a lovely and fulfilling experience so far.”

Alex’s peaceful spirit is apparent in her demeanor and words. She is a lover of unicorns and ancient trees and also pets. She was honoured to be able to introduce her Mentee, in whose home country having pets is a relatively new idea, to a dog and to witness their first close interaction with the pet. This made her appreciate the joy and companionship that Canadians have with pets and how some areas in the world are only now discovering these joys.

Alex encourages others to volunteer and to keep an open heart and beginner’s mind when entering a volunteer opportunity.

“We never know who we will encounter and the new things we’ll learn as we participate in events and projects in our local community. That is part of the excitement of volunteering,” says Alex, adding “For me, volunteering brings me deeper into the present moment. Volunteering connects me with the spirit of altruism and goodwill within humanity. Not only has it been a wonderful way to meet people in the community, but it has shown me that when we serve others, we are the first to receive the gifts of joy and kindness we give to others.”

“I have a wonderful oracle deck entitled “The Healing Mantra Deck” by inspirational author and spiritual teacher, Matt Kahn,” continues Alex. “One of the messages from the deck beautifully articulates ideals that express why volunteering is important to me. Matt writes, ‘When cooperation is created, the unity of all is accessed to accomplish more in one moment than any one person can do alone. As a creator of cooperation, you are giving others the right to contribute, which only broadens the effect of collective expression. Once cooperation is created, all facades of competition melt away, allowing each individual to feel a renewed depth of self-worth by serving a vision greater than any degree of individual gain.”

If you are looking for meaningful ways to connect and to be present, check out the VolunteerConnector for a variety of opportunities. There are currently amazing opportunities available including joining Boards of Directors, one-on-one time with individuals with diversabilities, being a reading mentor and being part of a restorative justice program for youth. Check out www.kcr.ca or www.volunteerconnector.org to learn more.

Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources. If you are interested in sharing your volunteer or organizational news, please contact Dorothee at dorothee@kcr.ca.

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