Volunteer of the Month: Carmen Patricia Soto de Castro

Carmen Patricia Soto de Castro

A lovely smile is what you will notice first when you meet Carmen. We greeted warmly while being led to Immigrant Centre (IC) conference room.

Carmen Patricia, originally from El Salvador, talks to me about what brought her to Winnipeg. Right after her teenage son’s birth, Carmen and her husband decided to move to California in pursuit of security and a better life. They were just settling in to their new life in California when they decided to go to Texas, as the cost of living in California was much too high. It took them some time to start again from scratch, but they packed up and made the move one more time.

Like many other immigrants in the US nowadays, due to uncertainty about their future and feeling that they no longer had the same peace of mind as before, they made a drastic decision to pursue a safer future. In a moment of uncertainty, they took their luggage, gave away their stuff, and started their new journey to Canada. They arrived August 2017.

“Here we are, in a blessed land, which has given us the opportunity to start over but in a different way. We are so grateful for this great country, where the immigrants are respected and valued, where they give opportunities to move forward”, says Carmen.

She was introduced to the IC by her mother-in-law and started her volunteer job as a data entry clerk on Dec 15th, 2017. On a 3 hour/3day rotation basis, she enters all the information of any new client, to facilitate the processing of their information by IC employees.

Carmen is now practicing hard to improve her language skills by attending English conversation classes. At the same time she is enjoying her volunteer job and says that although the job is new to her, she is learning a lot.

Besides all this, she is a mother and a housewife and spends the rest of her day, “making the house a pleasant place for her husband and son.”

When I ask her why she is volunteering with the IC, she says “it’s a way to thank Canada for what it has done for us”.

Story and photo by Nafiseh Rezaii Salim