Volunteer of the Month: Michael Spivak

Michael Spivak

Michael Spivak is a busy man. “For eight hours during the day, I am a computer engineer. And I do volunteering assignments for the Immigrant Centre in evening time.”

But that’s not all. Michael Spivak is also a known journalist and a writer in the Russian-language segment. As well, he is the Editor-in-Chief for a local Russian newspaper and Deputy Editor for a Russian literary journal published in Toronto.

On weekends, Spivak teaches chess to kids at the Russian School “Erudite”, located in the Grant Park Shopping Centre. “Today this is the biggest children’s chess club in Manitoba” he said proudly, “my students have won several Manitoba championships in their age subgroups and participated in the National tournaments.”

So how does Spivak still find time to be a volunteer? His secret is simple: “I never waste time for watching TV. After work this saves me a huge amount of time” he said.

A few years ago Spivak wrote an article about the Immigrant Centre for his newspaper; the article was mostly about the useful services for newcomers. Once he found out about the Centre’s Language Bank, Spivak, who is fluent in Russian and Hebrew, signed up to volunteer as a translator.

“As an engineer, every day I communicate with my computer. Volunteering is an opportunity to extend my communication skills and do something useful for people.”

Michael Spivak is certainly a believer in paying it forward.  “If you start new life with good experience, you transfer that experience to the next person. I believe this system works as a chain, and important, do not cut the chain in the middle. In the past, I had pretty smooth immigration and settlement process. Now is my turn to contribute into the good environment, where the Immigrant Centre is a significant part.”

The Immigrant Centre thanks you, Michael, for your time and dedication.