Volunteer of the Month: Kenn Green
Kenn Green shuffles some papers and gets ready for his evening class of newcomers studying for the driver’s test. Outside, the waiting room is starting to fill up.
Kenn has been volunteering for more than 25 years. A retired teacher, he started facilitating English classes back when the Immigrant Centre was known as the International Centre and housed in a different building. It was during one of these language classes that Kenn had an idea.
“A woman from Iran asked me if I would help her study for her written driver’s license test. When I said absolutely, she asked if she could bring a friend. And now 16 years later, here we are.”
Getting a driver’s license is an important step for a lot of newcomers on their journey to feeling at home in a new country. Kenn is happy to help newcomers study, but it’s not all he teaches. He is a paid interpretation teacher and on Saturday mornings he volunteers to teach a Canadian Citizenship class.
“I keep saying I’m going to retire but I can just never make that step,” he says. “We’re all newcomers in one way or another and I always felt that it was important to reach out to people who are new in the community.”
For Kenn it’s more than just providing a service to people who are reaching out. “You make a lot of friends in this type of situation,” he says. He has friends all over the country that he still keeps in touch with, people he met right here at the Immigrant Centre.
When Kenn opens the door to the first floor board room, a stream of smiling faces pass by him. He greets them each by name as he gets set up to talk about the written driver’s test.