Volunteer of the Month: Alyssa Chapman
Alyssa Chapman volunteers as a One-to-One English Tutor, helping newcomers develop their English Language skills. After joining the team at the Immigrant Centre in February 2015, Alyssa started off with one student; a month later she agreed to assist a second student and has continued to tutor both since then.
Alyssa took time from her busy schedule to answer a few questions about why she volunteers and her experience at the immigrant Centre.
Q: How did you find out about the Immigrant Centre?
A: I had been travelling and working out of town for a couple years and had just recently moved back to Winnipeg with plans to stay for an extended amount of time. I was looking to get involved in an ongoing volunteer opportunity, but what unsure of what options were available to me. I did some research and stumbled upon the Immigrant Centre’s website. I was interested in working with newcomers, and liked the idea of working one on one with someone, which was something I hadn’t previously considered.
Q: Why did you decide to volunteer at the Immigrant Centre?
A: I am very interested in learning about different cultures and experiences. It takes a huge toll on a person and a family in so many ways to pack up and move to a whole new country to better their lives, and I think that it is important for us as global citizens to help make that transition as comfortable as possible in whatever way we can.
The One-to One English Tutor program seemed like a great opportunity for me to build a newcomer’s confidence in the language, as well as build new relationships and learn about an unfamiliar culture.
Q: How would you describe your volunteer experience?
A: Since the very first time I walked into the center I have always felt very welcomed and at home. Everyone is always smiling and it is a very inviting environment. I look forward to coming in each week. I have built strong relationships with my students, and it is extremely rewarding when I hear and see them start using things that I have taught them. Both of my students are looking to gain different things out of their lessons, so it has been fun (and at times difficult) working with each of them to find strategies that work for all of us.
I had the opportunity last fall to take part in an Adult Beginner Korean Language class taught by one of my students that was an extremely eye opening and helpful experience for me. It gave me the chance to understand what it is like to learn a new language, and I learned a lot about my student’s culture. The language exchange between us really grew our relationship and I think it really helped me transform my lessons.
Q: What would you say to someone who is interested in volunteering??
A: To anyone interested in volunteering: DO IT!! The Immigrant Centre offers so many great programs that are so important to many newcomers. It is an extremely rewarding experience, and your work is very appreciated. The staff are all very helpful and have many resources to help you succeed.
The Immigrant Centre thanks you Alyssa for your time and dedication. Without volunteers like you, the Centre would not be able to offer program such as the One-to-One English Tutor program free of charge to clients.