Volunteer of the Month: Ananh Khou
Ananh’s family came to Canada 37 years ago as refugees. “I didn’t speak any English. Luckily, I spent two months of summer school at International Centre (summer 1980) and that experience helped me with my speaking skills and prepared me for the next school year. “
Ananh graduated from Gordon Bell High School, and initially went to University of Manitoba, then University of Winnipeg; however, “I didn’t know what I wanted. Our family never spoke about post-secondary education, so I was pretty clueless. Eventually, I left and started working in the hospitality industry.”
After deciding that a career in hospitality was not what he wanted, Ananh enrolled in the Business Administration program at Red River College. He would later join Bank of Montreal as a Customer Service Representative. A year later, he was promoted to Customer Service Manager and over the next nine years, worked his way up to Branch Manager.
Working with Statistics Canada for Census 2006, gave him the opportunity to see Nunavut. For the past 10 years however, Ananh has worked for the Province of Manitoba, as Manager of Customer Services (The Vital Statistics Agency), Supervisor of Admin Services (Manitoba Infrastructure & Transportation) and SAP Business Analyst (Manitoba Finance).
Ananh’s passion for learning in ongoing. “I believe in lifelong learning. I have completed the Canadian Security Course, Human Resources and CACE (Certificate in Adult and Continuing Education) from University of Manitoba.”
In September 2012, Ananh started volunteering at the Immigrant Centre (IC) as a Language Facilitator in the Access English Centre (AEC). “My family became clients of the International Centre when we arrived in 1980, so I was well aware of some of the services that the IC provides for clients and I wanted to be part of their success. Initially, I was astonished at the services IC provides for the community. What really surprises me is that I didn’t think I would stay this long.
Volunteering at the AEC is the perfect match for his personality and interests, Ananh says, plus it’s an opportunity to give back to the newcomer community. “I enjoy my time at AEC. Walter and his team -ShanShan, Elvi, May, Sou and Adam- provide exceptional support to ensure that I feel welcome every time I walk into the IC and make sure that I have all the tools I need to do my job, including tea and coffee. I continue with IC because of Walter and his team who provide ongoing support to help me, so that I can continue to have a great time doing what I love.”
When he’s not working and volunteering at the Immigrant Centre, Ananh enjoys spending time with his family; “my wife Wendy, children Jillian, Sydney, Craig and Lindsay and my granddaughter Ainsley.”