Volunteer of the Month: Babe Luna-Green
From the moment I met her, I knew it was going to be one of those inspiring meetings. I met Babe Luna-Green at the reception desk at the Immigrant Centre and the first thing she did after greeting me was introduce me to a gentleman called Kenn, her husband.
Before she even started talking about herself, she proudly told me about Kenn and all the volunteer work that he has done with immigrants, such as teaching Citizenship and Interpretation classes since the 90s, and starting English conversation classes and written exam classes for the Driving License at the Immigrant Centre.
Babe Luna-Green came to Canada in 1990. A year later, she met her husband Kenn at a gathering at her sister’s house.
Kenn introduced her to the Immigrant Centre (then called the International Centre) where she started volunteering. At the time, there used to be social groups that took new immigrants and international students to visit different places to help them become familiar with the history of Winnipeg, and get to know the culture and traditions of Canadians. She also helped with setting up meetings, gatherings or parties at the Centre.
Through a placement agency, Babe worked various part time or temporary jobs in administration positions, until HEB Manitoba offered her a permanent position after 6 months of temporary working. She worked there for 13 years and even after she retired, she returned when asked to take over a 6-month position.
Since 2015, Babe has volunteered at Canadian citizenship ceremonies welcoming new Canadians as they arrive to take their Oath of Citizenship. Apart from the Immigrant Centre, Babe also volunteers within the Filipino community helping with passport renewals and assisting people with gathering documents needed for various purposes. The community also helps people of other nationalities or as Babe puts it “Friends of Filipinos”.
Last year, Babe also volunteered at the Canada Summer Games doing clerical jobs and directing people on where to go at event venues, once the games got started.
When I asked her why she likes volunteering, she says, “It’s all about giving back to Canada what I received when I entered this beautiful country. I feel happy meeting new people. It’s an honour for me to help them ease their way in their new path”
Babe’s inspirational advice to every new immigrant is “to wait until your time arrives, don’t compare yourself just wait and you’ll see the miracle of your life; everybody has their own time”.
The rest of the meeting passed with us chatting. It was like I had known her for years and I didn’t feel uncomfortable at all talking to her about every single highlight of my life since I came to Canada.