Monday, December 1, 2014

Secord Firsts: Athiya Parveen on Volunteerism

Hello, Secordians! Welcome to the first in a series of blog posts that we'll be sharing on the first of every month telling the stories of Secord Firsts.  Today, for our inaugural post we are lucky to have Secord Parent Athiya Parveen share her experience with volunteering for the first time.  We're sure you'll enjoy!

We're looking forward to hearing about your children's first field trip, first homework, first time reading a book on their own and more, all from your point of view.

If you're interested in sharing your Secord First with the community email us at secord (dot) council (at) gmail (dot) com.  Please address your email to the attention of Tracey Nolan.


I am assuming that either you are reading this blog between your coffee break at the office or switching tabs while working from home or enjoying some "me" time while your angel faced preschooler is taking his/her mid morning nap or probably stranded on one or the other mode of transport so will try to capture this enriching experience in a nutshell.

The autumn of 2011 was the year the beat of Secord was changing as volunteer involvement was beginning to gain momentum due to the fact that nutrition program had begin to take its due place and also that Secord had a newly appointed enthusiastic Vice Principal interested to know her community through the parents and volunteers.

From left, Ryerson nursing students Christina Pulla, Stephanie Siddall and Yemi Demeke get ready t dish out a hot lunch and fruit-slice dessert at Secord Elementary School.
PHOTO: Andrew Hudson via Beach Metro

I enrolled myself to volunteer in the ESL program with the concerned teaching staff and also to perform clerical tasks in the administration. Altogether, I was assigned 5 students from grade 3 and grade 2. The mornings were spent reading books one on one until pick up time of the Kindergartens since my daughter who had just entered the mysterious labyrinth of the education system had to be picked up. Yeah, I know those were the less tormenting glorious days (or maybe not) for 5 year olds when they were home.

Having been brought up in a teaching atmosphere, I had an exposure to the working of the little minds and so jumped in at the opportunity of giving to the community of students. I miss those mornings when each began with the ubiquitous national anthem where with each anthem, I felt more CANADIAN than ever. Another motivating factor to continue volunteering was to be at the receiving end of the extinct characteristics of warmth, passion and unconditional welcome of a few of the teaching staff at Secord surpassing all boundaries of any sort. The lively chitchat with the teachers one has while taking the students back and forth from their classrooms to the ESL room and the indigenous group of parents one meets, connects and cherishes some of them for life are all experiences that can never be replaced and acquired elsewhere.

As it was a one on one program, the ESL students would feel comfortable to share their thoughts and feelings about various issues not limited to school scenario alone but also other matters revolving in their vulnerable world. It was a bond not too strong and yet neither fragile that it could be shrugged off and forgotten. One gets enlightened from situations such as these and starts to look at things from the other side of the table.

I continue to go on class trips and am a member of a couple of committees and hopefully if time permits, would surely contribute again on a regular basis and humbly appreciate the efforts and perseverance of all those involved in making Secord a place where all Voices are Heard!!!

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