Denise Clement – Volunteer of the Month for March 2024

A born and raised Calgarian, Denise Clement noticed an increased number of immigrants arriving in Calgary in 2018 and began exploring ways to assist the newcomer community. While looking up various programs and organizations, she discovered Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC).

“I found Immigrant Services Calgary to be an interesting and empowering place for newcomers to Canada to gain resources and assistance while they navigate settling into their new life,” she said.

Her volunteering journey started with Immigrant Services Calgary’s after-school tutoring program. She then moved to the Conversation Corner for the Seniors Program and has been there for about six years.
Working with seniors has been a delightful experience for Denise. From navigating online sessions during COVID-19 to hearing their stories and learning more about their personal lives, she is inspired by their persistence and wants to be part of making them feel welcome into their new community. Every meeting with them is a learning experience for her.

“I empathize with how much of a challenge it can be to relocate your entire life and find a place of belonging while facing many obstacles and hardships,” she said.

“If there is any way that I can make the transition smoother, more enjoyable, and most importantly, welcoming, then I want to be a part of it.” 

The seniors also enjoy Denise’s passion, enthusiasm, and involvement in making their settling easier.

“Whether facilitating or assisting the English conversation corner in the classroom, her contributions enrich our senior’s life experience,” said Joy Tan, a Gateway Newcomer Planner for Seniors.

“The seniors love her smile and kind words and enjoy moments with her.”

Denise has two bachelor’s degrees, one in English Language and another in Social & Cultural Anthropology. This educational background also influences her desire to work with newcomers to Canada because it combines her areas of interest and provides an opportunity to understand how different cultures impact Canadian society.

One of Denise’s goals for the near future is to become TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) Canada-Certified teacher so that she can continue to help newcomers feel more confident with communicating in the English language. She also recommends that others consider volunteering as it is a chance to discover areas of interest and experience the sense of pride that comes with helping others.

“Volunteering can be really rewarding and fun, and you never know what it can lead to.”