Volunteer of the Month: Valeria Castellanos-Hurtado
Valeria Castellanos-Hurtado, originally from Mexico, came to Winnipeg three years ago, after living in Vancouver for five years. A friend told her about the Immigrant Centre and she decided to apply for a volunteer position.
Val was hired as a One-To-One English Tutor in May 2016 and soon her three-month commitment became an ongoing engagement with the Immigrant Centre. By July 2016, she was also volunteering once a week as an English Conversation Group Facilitator. More recently Val began teaching a second Conversation Class, while simultaneously continuing her role as a tutor.
Before coming to Winnipeg, Val taught Statistics at the University of British Colombia where she was studying. Teaching it seems, is a family tradition. “Both of my parents are teachers. They inspire me so much and the values learnt at home are important to me. They always worked hard to improve other people’s lives.”
“Working with newcomers is a passion; it gives me purpose” she says. “When I first came to Canada, it was hard getting used to a new culture and language. Because I felt welcomed and supported from the start, now I want to give back.”
When she is not volunteering at the Immigrant Centre, Val works for the Winnipeg School Division Adult EAL program, and has also volunteered with English On-line and The Children’s Hospital Book Sale.
To date Val has contributed 149 volunteer hours to the Immigrant Centre and has no plans to stop. “I am grateful for the chance to volunteer at the Immigrant Centre, and would like to continue for as long as I can.”