Volunteer of the Month: Laila El-Deeb
Like many volunteers at the Immigrant Centre, Laila El-Deeb first came to the Centre as a client.After using the services of the Language Bank, she later decided to sign up for cooking classes. “I thought it was very nice” she says of the Immigrant Centre, “I liked the place.”
A doctor for 35 years in Egypt and United Arab Emirates and now retired, it was the first time that Laila had this much free time, and although she was always thinking about how she could become involved in volunteer work, she had no idea how to start. When Laila heard from then Nutrition Services Manager, Heather Giesbrecht that the Centre was going to offer cooking classes in Arabic, she offered to volunteer as an Interpreter and it was the beginning.
“After being in Canada for more than a year, I felt encouraged to do something here. It was a challenge for me to disturb my comfort zone and to drive for the first time from my place to downtown and the north end of the city, where most of the immigrant services are located; it is about 20 kilometers far!” she says.
When Laila started at the Immigrant Centre, it was the first time that she had ever volunteered! She helped translate recipes into Arabic and also volunteered as an interpreter during cooking classes. “I enjoy the work with Heather, especially direct contact with participants in her class. It was really exciting. Working as a volunteer with the newcomers really is a great addition to me.”
Laila continues to maintain her busy schedule, volunteering once a week in our Access English Centre, as well as at five other places around the city. She has recently expressed interest in volunteering in the Immigrant Centre’s Language Bank as a Translator and Interpreter.
The Immigrant Centre thanks you, Laila, for your time and dedication.