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KCR: Volunteers make for a better world

These columns are contributed by the KCR Community Resources

Otavio Chaves has been an entrepreneur for over 10 years and has used his skills and knowledge to volunteer for in his home in Brazil before coming to Canada with his wife this past September so she could start her PhD program at UBCO. As an avid volunteer in Brazil, Otavio signed on right away to help in his new town, sharing his enthusiasm and belief in volunteering to improve the world at the Okanagan Volunteer Fair.

“I’m from Petrópolis, a small town near to Rio de Janeiro, and I moved to Kelowna directly from Brazil with my wife and our pet. In Brazil, I was an entrepreneur for over 10 years and my wife was a professor at a medical school,” explains Otavio. “Before moving to Canada, we had to make a difficult decision about our professional stability and living away from our parents and friends. But here we are, very excited to learn more about Canadian culture and experience a different way of life. By volunteering, you get to know your community better, experience different ways of seeing the world, make friends and have fun.”

Since 2019 Otavio has been volunteering at Movimento Empreendedor (Entrepreneurial Movement), an organization that promotes innovation programs and supports entrepreneurs to succeed.

“I volunteered as a promoter and organizer of educational programs to help people succeed as entrepreneurs and good professionals. Since then, I have organized 4 Startup Weekends and supported other social programs such as Galileo Project, which educates young Brazilians from underserved communities, promoting a 6-month software development course,” shares Otavio. “In February 2022, a major natural disaster occurred in my hometown when thousands of families lost their homes as a result of a severe storm. As a volunteer for another social organization called TETO PARA TODOS (House For Everyone), I was able to help hundreds of families, collecting donations. During the pandemic, my wife and I collected donations to buy food for families of poor communities.”

For Otavio, volunteering allows people to share their experience and work to have a more fair and balanced society. “If everyone could help a bit, we would have a much better world. I could not imagine how many good things have happened to me because of helping others,” states Otavio, reflecting that he always remembers the quote from author Ralph Waldo Emerson: “It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”

“What might just be a small thing for you, could be a life-changing experience for someone else,” continues Otavio.“Sometimes, to make a good impact on people’s lives, you don’t have to do difficult things. Little things always matter, and the most important thing is to be present in people’s lives.”

If you are interested in making good impact and being present, check out more volunteer opportunities online at We can help connect you to great opportunities that allow you to make a much better world.

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

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