June 2010 Volunteer of the Month

June 2010 Julia Burkart

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At the age of 13, Julia Burkart moved from England to Canada and was confronted with an ocean of differences that stretched far wider and went much deeper than the one she had just crossed. Despite a common language and culture, Julia found the transition to her new home a difficult one. Her experiences with the struggles that come from navigating a world so incredibly foreign and yet so achingly similar has left a lasting impression on Julia. Now an environmental consultant and mother of two children, Julia has also been a dedicated volunteer of Immigrant Services Calgary’s Mosaic Centre Pre-School since February 2009.  With a respect and compassion for those who strive to make Canada home, Julia gives the gift of her presence in countless ways to make the pre-school not only a classroom but a safe space: a place where giant cardboard boxes are really magic castles, where the laughter of children is the norm, and where every child feels at home.

When asked about Julia, her colleagues light up: “She is absolutely delightful and she has such amazing and creative ideas for the kids. She is so good with them.” Yet despite glowing praise, in Julia’s own words, “I was just looking for a place to volunteer and I thought I would like to help new immigrants with their transition to life in Canada….I love seeing the children. They are always so interesting and charming. I have seen some of the kids for over two years now and I find it rewarding to see how they are maturing and developing.” While Julia may insist that her volunteer work had its own personal rewards, the impact she has made is undeniable.

Thank you, Julia, for your bright smile along with the incredible energy and creativity that you have brought to the Mosaic Centre’s Preschool program. We echo the sentiments of the staff that have had the pleasure with working with you – “We really hope we get to keep her forever!”

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