Gautham Menon is Immigrant Services Calgary’s volunteer of the month.
Gautham joined the Volunteer Program at Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) in July 2014 and spent the summer facilitating computer classes for our Seniors Program before leaving the city to pursue higher education. Gautham came back this year and quickly made a positive impression on all those who worked with him. Throughout 2018, Gautham volunteered as a tutor for homework help clubs coordinated by ISC’s MOSAIC and Settlement and Language Bank Centre, reception support at ISC’s main reception and as a community volunteer supporting the ISC Reading Club.
Gautham generously puts his talents to a greater good, volunteering his time with projects that help both young and mature newcomers. His inner kindness is apparent, and he quickly connects with all at ISC. In just nine months, Gautham contributed over 170 hours volunteering at ISC, this too speaks of what a dedicated individual he is.
“Gautham is always ready to do whatever is needed for the Reading Club. He helps in many different ways, such as setting up the room, preparing material, working with clients to improve pronunciation and even providing them with tips on how to reduce the speed on videos when using YouTube. The amount of work that Gautham does in the Reading Club goes beyond what is normally expected of a volunteer. We are very lucky to have him!” – Zita Claudia Flores, Settlement Counselor, Reading Club moderator
“Gautham is an amazing volunteer. He has been a valuable help at ISC’s main reception desk for several months now. He is very creative, passionate and dedicated to improving the lives of newcomers. It is an absolute pleasure to work with him. He has a great sense of humour, which makes a busy day pass by easily! He is professional in his work, takes initiative to provide high-quality administrative support at Immigrant Services Calgary and is pleasant to work with! – Gezim Fetahu, Receptionist
This is Gautham’s story.
“My parents and I immigrated to Canada from India in December of 2007. I remember the trip very vividly as we had decided to move a week after my 12th birthday. I was looking forward to having a new experience in a new country and city: Toronto. Despite my excitement, the culture shock was a lot to handle in the initial few years. Even though friends that I made at my new school were very accepting and accommodating of me trying to adapt, not all shared the same mentality. There were countless times when I was made fun of for my accent. Despite how it felt at the time, it only helped improve my command of the English language.
After a few years of living in Toronto, we moved to Calgary where I completed my high school education. It was towards the end of Grade 12 when I first started volunteering at Immigrant Services Calgary. I decided to volunteer with ISC because I had heard great things from my mother, who had also volunteered with the agency. However, due to the fact that I was accepted into the Neuroscience program at the University of Lethbridge, I was only able to volunteer intermittently.
Now that I am back from Lethbridge four years later and attending school at SAIT, I'm finally able to commit my time volunteering at ISC. I spent part of the summer volunteering as a receptionist on ISC’s 12th floor, this helped me gain valuable experience in opening channels of communication with people from a multitude of backgrounds. I currently volunteer at two locations of ISC’s Homework Club, as well as the Reading Club. Volunteering here has been the greatest experience of my life because I've had the opportunity to meet people I wouldn’t have met before while working with the best staff I've ever come across. The people at ISC do wonderful work within Calgary and I plan to continue helping out as much as I can.”
It is an absolute privilege to have your volunteer support, Gautham, and we look forward to continuing to work with you in 2019. Congratulations!