December 4, 2017

Volunteering at Vigilant: we get by with a little help from our friends

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In 2002, when Vigilant employee Yang and his family came to Montreal from Beijing, China, everything was new.

The Service à la Famille Chinoise du Grand Montréal provided Yang and his family the tools and information they needed to quickly settle down in what has now become their home.

Yang feels a sense of responsibility to help others who need help as he and his family once did. He shares what it means to give back to a cause with a deeply personal connection.

“When my family first arrived in Canada, we had no friends or relatives here. The Service à la Famille Chinoise du Grand Montréal helped us connect in the community. Their services were critical to my family’s comfort and well-being, and I knew we needed to give back after receiving so much.

As I began to help others through volunteering, I quickly realized the impact it had on me and how much it positively impacted my life. Aside from giving people the aid they need, volunteering gives us new perspective, a sense of fulfillment and greater respect for others.

I use my experience and skills to help new Chinese immigrants any way I can – there are more and more of them who need information when settling down in Canada. They aren’t familiar with how to rent an apartment, how to find a job, how taxes work or how to register for daycare. Some elders in the Chinese community cannot speak English or French, so it’s very difficult for them to use public services such as health care and government aid.

This year on my birthday, I volunteered my time by accompanying an elder to the hospital. I helped translate with the doctor and book other appointments she needed. I plan to volunteer each year on my birthday – it’s the best gift!

La Famille Chinoise is not the only organization where I volunteer. Over the past four years, I’ve helped build and renovate houses with Habit for Humanity, and we have volunteered as a family at sporting events such as Ironman Muskoka 2017. What I like is that Vigilant always encourages employees to volunteer and provides lots of opportunities, both during and outside of work hours. You can feel the strong community culture at Vigilant, and it’s nice to know I share that value with my employer.

But the most important lesson I’ve learned during volunteering is to start where you are, use what you have and do what you can. Everyone has the capacity to help other people: your energy, your time, or your knowledge.”

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