By Katrina Raymundo
24 hours… was the amount of time I spent binge-watching TV shows on Netflix on most weekends.
One day, as I finished another TV series, I thought that all this time to myself could partly be used to do other worthwhile activities, such as volunteering. While searching online for opportunities, I chanced upon the posting for a Computer Tutor with West Neighbourhood House (formerly The St. Christopher House) in Toronto’s Little Portugal area.
I thought that going back to West Neighbourhood House this time as a volunteer would be a good example of things coming full circle. After all, it was with the organization’s resume help/career mentoring program (WEST Employment Services) that I was able to get a job. As a newcomer to Canada in 2015, I met with one of their program (employment) advisers to improve my resume to adapt to Canadian standards. Through this program, I connected with the manager who hired me!
As a Computer Tutor with the Bang the Drum program, I volunteer Friday nights and Saturday afternoons to help mature adults improve their computer literacy. Since starting in May 2019, I’ve assisted three adults who’ve become my regular students in using office and tablet apps and the Internet. Volunteering has also been a great learning experience for me. I love learning about other cultures. In a city as diverse as Toronto, people who I normally would not have had the chance to converse with, open up to share their stories. I’ve learned the virtue of patience. I’ve appreciated through teaching that people have different learning styles and not everyone is the same. I never knew that my computer tutoring sessions could ever teach me lessons such as patience and diversity.
The past few months have been a smooth ride so far, and I can only be thankful for the amount of respect that goes into each session. Each tutoring session ends with a thank you, a smile to show they appreciate your time.
24 hours and counting, this is what my volunteer opportunity has become so far. I’m glad to have the opportunity to spend my time in this way and I hope to have more students in the future.
Side note: I still love to watch TV but there’s an appropriate amount of time for everything!
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at West Neighbourhood House, please click here.