Volunteer & Drop-In Grandmother, South Burnaby Neighborhood House
Volunteer, Second Street Community School
Born and raised in Burnaby, Jeanette has been volunteering in the community for years, starting with Meals on Wheels. Jeanette raised her family in Burnaby and now her grandchildren live close by.
When taking her grandchildren to the drop-in centre at Burnaby Family Life, she was asked to volunteer to help with the monthly Sharing Cultures Dinners organized and hosted by the South Burnaby Neighbourhood House. She says, “The people are nice and the food is great – I’ve been there ever since.” Jeanette continues to volunteer every month at the multicultural dinners.
Jeanette was a founding member of the Seniors Together Committee at South Burnaby Neighborhood House, a program that focuses on providing positive intercultural exchanges for people of all ages. As an active member of the diverse committee, she models respect and makes everyone feel good about being involved.
When volunteering, Jeanette is often the only Canadian-born person in the group. Most of her other committee members, staff, and participants are immigrants; some very new to the country. Jeanette cheerfully shares her knowledge of Canadian culture while learning from other cultures and embracing different traditions and beliefs. She helps those she meets feel comfortable and at ease.
She says it just makes sense: “If I went to someone else’s country, I’d want to be treated the same way.”
“I like getting to meet new people. It’s rewarding to see them smile, to know that somebody cares. It makes me feel good to say I’m a Canadian; I like newcomers.”
“One lady in my group of clients, who doesn’t speak any English and is hard of hearing…
every time she sees me, her face lights up and she grabs my hand and hugs me. It’s that personal connection that is so important. It’s my idea of volunteering – to show that somebody cares.”
Jeanette blankets the community with her positive attitude and open-mindedness. She models this in all aspects of her life and volunteer work.
In her words, “I think the world revolves around volunteers.”