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"My name is Lina (Izokaitis) Lianga. I am originally from the United States. I was born in Chicago, Illinois.  My parents immigrated to the USA after World War II from Lithuania. I grew up in a Lithuanian community where I attended Lithuanian school, church, learned traditional dance and participated in community events. I met my husband while traveling in Lithuania and eventually moved to Canada in 1998. I love it here. I am now a Canadian citizen.

I have been a volunteer at Folk Arts since November 2019.  I have a couple volunteer roles at the center. I currently co-facilitate the regional English Conversation Circle via Zoom.  This is a place where newcomers can gather to chat and practice their English skills in a relaxed setting.  I am also participating in the Cooking Series. I, along with other volunteers, staff and newcomers, choose a meal to cook and share time together via Zoom.  

I love volunteering at the Centre. Volunteering has always been a big part of my life. My background is in education and I have taught ESL/EAP with International students for many years.  I believe that volunteering at Folk Arts is the best blend of both worlds.  The staff is very encouraging and supportive and the newcomers that I have worked with are so eager to learn and to connect with other newcomers and Canadians too. It is also so rewarding to be part of an organization that values equality for all people.

One of the benefits of working alongside newcomers is that they present a window to the world. Through my interactions with newcomers, I get to learn more about their individual cultures and hear about their lives through their stories. I continue to be reminded that we are all humans looking for a better life.

When I am not volunteering, I dream about traveling to faraway places. I love to travel and explore places that I’ve never been before. I also love to walk/hike in the forest, learn about health living, cook and bake gluten free food in my kitchen, spend time with my family and I just picked up a new hobby…knitting."

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