Naheda Sahtout

Paying it forward by volunteering with us

Naheda arrived in Canada in 2007. She is Palestinian, but was born in Kuwait and grew up in Malaysia. She is currently a full-time PhD student in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Saskatchewan. Since 2015, Naheda has contributed many volunteer hours to SODS. To help resettle Syrian refugees, she spent countless hours translating, running conversation circles, mentoring and helping out at the four clothing depots we set up specifically for Syrian arrivals. She has also volunteered her time working on youth programs, special programs, special events programs and seniors' programming. She loves volunteering and strongly believes in the Pay-It-Forward philosophy.

Sonya Adams

Learning is a two-way street

Sonya was born and raised in Saskatoon. Although she’s never lived anywhere else, she gained perspective on immigration through her mother's and grandmother's post-war stories.  She got involved with SODS as a volunteer to be of service to others, attended one of our volunteer orientation sessions, and the rest is history. Sonya leads some of our conversation circles and has discovered that learning is a two-way street. “I keep learning about the really subtle attitudes and approaches to navigating life that people who grew up in Saskatchewan take for granted, that we don't realize are actually part of our culture, that newcomers have to figure out how to navigate when they adjust to life here. Volunteering has been important to help me stay aware of what I really consider to be important and valuable work - as compared to just trying to do what I have to do to be paid - and so it's improved my own life.  To me, volunteering has been about focusing on those non-material, people-oriented values that make my life more worthwhile and meaningful and help people build better relationships, rather than focusing on the overly-material values that can dominate our paid-work lives.”

Bryan Panasiuk

Making a difference at the local level

Bryan was born in Dawson Creek, BC but has lived in Saskatoon for most of his life. He started volunteering with us because it was an alternative to writing a long paper for his Sociology 260 class. He enjoyed it so much that he went beyond the hours required and carried on volunteering all through the summer. He volunteers regularly in our Youth Basketball program and connects easily with the participants. “I like being a role model and being around children. I have a good connection with kids and it makes me feel as if I am doing something that really matters.  I have learned that no matter where you are in the world, you can enact change on a local grassroots level. These kids need role models, so by volunteering you are filling that role.”