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"My name is Mea Qianqian Tian, a newcomer volunteer at the Folk Arts Centre. I am from China and have been living in St. Catharines for nearly three years.

During my first year in Canada, I was one of the beneficiaries of the programs at the Centre. I got job searching skills suggestions, as well as mental support from staff. Also, I took my boy to enjoy the “Chinese play group” program, which offered physical room and facilities to support children to enhance their Mandarin skills. Based on the help I received here, I knew more about Canada in terms of culture, life and social contacts; thus, I passed my adaptation period here.

As a result, when I settled down both physically and mentally, I began to dedicate myself to volunteer in the Centre. My first volunteer experience is volunteering with the 2019 Niagara Folk Arts Festival, and the primary duty is to provide supports around the hall, such as guiding, cleaning and moving facilities, following the coordinator’s arrangement or any needs via judgement by myself.

Moreover, I registered as a long-term volunteer in this January and planned to volunteer with the Mandarin “Experiential Language Learning” program as an instructor in 2020.

I appreciate that I have made many friends with different backgrounds at the Centre in the past. At the same time, I am so glad that I could help other newcomers and enjoy my life in Canada.

Although the pandemic affects our normal life significantly, I feel grateful that I have such a big family around me. Staff at the Centre reached out to me on the day of the social distancing announcement and let me know they were there to help community members. During the last few weeks, I spent more time with my family members than ever before, and all of us enjoyed the family time very much. Also, I was able to have more time to adjust my schedule to achieve my New Year resolution for 2020. To my surprise, I noticed the power of technology due to online needs everywhere. I learned many useful apps with high productivity and felt that I caught up with advanced technology, which can support my study and career currently and in the future. For example, I explored the two-interface operating on the iPad, which can make it possible to watch a video while writing down electronic notes at the same time. In other words, the special situation facilitated me to fit in technologies, reflect deeper and appreciate."

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