Adrian Ruiter - Volunteer of the Month for June 2020
Adrian Ruiter is the Volunteer of the Month for June 2020! Adrian has been a regular volunteer across many of the programs that depend on volunteers for support. He has participated as a Volunteer Tutor, Community Volunteer, and has helped out with various Seniors Program activities including fitness classes and conversation clubs. He has also been a huge supporter of ISC’s reading club, where ESL learners can improve their English through reading in small groups. He was one of the volunteers who continued to support our activities virtually when we transitioned our programs online during the COVID-19 pandemic, which helped our clients continue to be connected when they couldn’t meet in person. We would like to extend our gratitude to Adrian for his help as a volunteer in so many capacities, and also for the warmth and kindness he continually shows our clients and staff. Congratulations Adrian!
Here is Adrian’s story:
I grew up in Ottawa, Ontario where I was born. My parents are both immigrants from The Netherlands so I have some understanding of what moving to a new country involves. Many Dutch people came to Canada after the country was devastated by World War II. My mother was 12 when her family immigrated to Canada. My father came by himself. After meeting in Ottawa, my parents settled there and raised a family.
After I completed a BSc degree in Geophysics at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario I moved to Calgary in 1985 to start a job in oil exploration. My wife, Nancy, and I married in 1990 and our daughters were born in 1992 and 1993. After working to find oil in Canada for 10 years, I was offered the opportunity to explore for oil in other countries while living there. My family moved to California in 1996, where I was based while looking for oil in Angola. After finding large oil discoveries my family moved to Angola where I worked with the Angolan staff. After 4 years in Angola, we moved to Sumatra, Indonesia and then to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. I enjoyed living with and working with the people from the country in which we were living. It is delightful to learn about different cultures.
I have had multiple sclerosis for 20 years, in 2016 the illness had progressed to a level that made it impossible for me to work so I had to stop working, go on long term disability, and move back to Canada. Living and working in other countries helped me appreciate and value the diversity of cultures in this world. Canada is a country built by immigrants and we continue to rely on immigrants to help keep Canada growing. After moving back, I wanted to help immigrants settle in Canada successfully so I looked for volunteer opportunities and found ISC where I have enjoyed helping with numerous programs.
Immigrant Services Calgary is grateful to volunteers like Adrian who make our city a better place by sharing their skills and experience with newcomers. Here is what a few of our staff had to say about Adrian’s contribution to our agency:
“I met Adrian in October 2016 when he came to Immigrant Services Calgary to sign up as a volunteer. He had lived and worked abroad and wanted to continue helping at home, in Canada, too. One could tell that he had a lot to offer, so I was excited to welcome him to the Volunteer Program. Since then, I had the pleasure to see Adrian support different programs at ISC, in various capacities. He is a wonderful human being, kind, patient and always striving to bring value to what he does. It’s a privilege to work with Adrian! He is great at working with all age groups, but became quite well-known among the seniors in ISC’s Seniors Program where he has been facilitating two different activities every week, inspiring all to be better – for ourselves and those around us.”
- Alina Ghita-Visinescu, B.Com. Coordinator, Settlement Community Programs
“Adrian Ruiter has been an active volunteer with the Community Initiatives for Immigrant Seniors Program (CISP) since June 2019. Adrian’s enthusiasm and commitment towards the CISP is remarkable as he consistently demonstrates his determination to give back to the community through volunteering. Adrian always goes out of his way to ensure others feel welcomed and supported. While volunteering with Conversation Corner Classes, Adrian prepared thorough lesson plans which were greatly suited for seniors. During this time of social distancing, Adrian had the idea to start online fitness classes for seniors to partake in. Seniors really enjoyed these classes and it is remarkable to be able to count on such great volunteers to help us through these times.“
- Parminder Gill, Community Seniors Program Facilitator
“Adrian has participated in the Reading Club for many seasons now. Adrian is the first to arrive to the sessions, he is full of energy and always embraces the activities that we have prepared. We work in small groups, and the members of his group always enjoy working with him. They have said he is very patient when helping them with their pronunciation, this makes them feel more confident to talk in English. He is always engaging everyone in the conversation, and he always finds what the participants have to say interesting. Adrian gives me feedback about the material that we are using in the Reading Club, which it is very important to keep the activities attractive to the participants and keep them coming back. I can see that he enjoys working with our clients because he even convinced his daughter to join the Reading Club. The Reading Club is very fortunate to have him as volunteer.”
- Zita Claudia Flores, Newcomer Planner