31 May 2020

Sonia on Sundays: Community Volunteering

Sonia Krajewska is the ANC’s Community Settlement and Integration Counsellor (Permanent Residents).

Working for a non-profit, community-based organization like the ANC I understand the significance of volunteers. It is so amazing to see how many people want to get involved and help us with our mission which is supporting newcomers to NL.

Undeniably volunteering has many other advantages and I would like to encourage newcomers to also get involved as volunteers. Some of the reasons might be the desire to learn new skills and expand your knowledge. Or perhaps wanting to give back to the community that you live in. It is crucial to remember that volunteering is also great way to socialize and meet new friends.

If you decide to get involved here are some options. Note that several of these are on hold or amended due to the current public health situation, but an organization you are interested in supporting may have other options:

Newcomer Match Program – Association for New Canadians
The Newcomer Match Program pairs volunteers with immigrants to Canada to help them adjust to life in Newfoundland and Labrador. Each immigrant will have unique goals they would like to accomplish with a volunteer. Based on these goals, volunteers may assist with:
• Practicing conversational English
• Practicing reading and writing
• Visiting organizations or groups that are of interest to the participant
• Visiting local attractions together

Academic Tutor Program – Association for New Canadians
The Academic Tutor Program pairs volunteers with English as a Second Language (ESL) students in Kindergarten to Grade 12 to help them with their schoolwork. Tutoring activities may include:
• Assisting with learning English
• Providing homework support
• Helping with exam preparation

Market Volunteer – St. John’s Farmers’ Market
The job of a Market Volunteer is to assist the St. John’s Farmers’ Market staff, including the Executive Director, Market Manager, and Events Manager, on Market days. Assignments and activities may include:
• Helping to set up and take down tables, tents, signs, etc.
• Staffing the information table
• Answering consumer questions (e.g. locations of restrooms and ATMs)
• Assisting Market Café staff (e.g. making coffee)
• Directing foot traffic
• Managing stall lines to prevent the obstruction of foot traffic around the market
• Vendor support (e.g. relieving vendors for short breaks, providing drink refills for outdoor vendors, re-stocking re-usable dishware for hot food vendors)
• Keeping the Market Café eating area and other spaces in the market clean and free of excess litter

ESL Volunteer Tutor Program – Association for New Canadians
The English as a Second Language (ESL) Volunteer Tutor Program matches volunteers with an immigrant adult, child, or youth to assist with basic ESL instruction. Younger students may also require assistance with homework and/or school assignments.

Volunteer Movers, Packers, and Sorters- Home Again Furniture Bank
Home Again is a recently established non-profit organization that aims to fill a gap in services for our most vulnerable citizens. They provide gently-used furniture and household items to individuals and families in need.

After-School Homework Club – Association for New Canadians
Through a partnership with the Newfoundland and Labrador English School District, the ANC delivers its After-School Homework Club in a number of elementary and junior high schools in the St. John’s Census Metropolitan Area (CMA). These clubs provide a structured environment for immigrant students who are studying English as a Second Language or who require assistance completing homework. The program includes English language lessons, creative writing exercises, group projects, guest speakers/presentations, and extracurricular activities. Volunteers assist by:
• Helping participants with homework, assignments, and projects
• Participating in group activities
• Assisting with event set-up and clean-up

Team Coach / Coaches Assistant – Football Newfoundland & Labrador
Football NL is currently seeking motivated individuals who have an interest in seeing tackle football in NL. You do not require any football experience, however it would be an asset. All training is available to you to help you succeed.

ESL Conversation Circle Program – Association for New Canadians
The English as a Second Language (ESL) Conversation Circle Program is delivered at the ANC’s ESL Training Centre on Mondays from 1-2 PM. [Note that this program is currently being delivered to a larger group online on Tuesday afternoons, with an extra activity session on Thursdays.] The program provides adult ESL learners with the opportunity to converse with native English speakers on a variety of topics in a friendly, relaxed environment. Volunteers contribute by:
• Facilitating a conversation with 1-3 students
• Asking questions and sharing information
• Assisting students with vocabulary and pronunciation

Volunteers Needed for Our Living Rooms – Canadian Cancer Society NL
The Canadian Cancer Society in St. John’s is seeking dedicated volunteers for Our Living Rooms. Our Living Rooms is located on the lower level of the Dr. H. Bliss Murphy Cancer Center. Volunteers will help cancer patients to access practical support items that are provided by the Canadian Cancer Society. These practical supports include wigs, turbans, permanent and temporary breast prosthesis, print resources, and other various items which are provided to cancer patients, free of charge in an attempt to aide them in their cancer journey.

Volunteer Event Planners – East Coast Trail Association
The Event Planner positions (3) will focus on the coordination and execution of events within the organization, as well as supporting corporate sponsorship specific to planned events. Event Planners should have relative experience in the areas of event coordination or planning and promotion and be comfortable working under tight time constraints. In addition, the Event Planner will be expected to be available for sporadic hours when needed, including evenings and weekends of which events are held.

WILD Outside St. John’s Program Participant – WILD Outside St. John’s (Canadian Wildlife Federation)
WILD Outside is a national conservation-based youth leadership program designed for youth ages 15 to 18. By participating in this immersive program, young Canadians will experience opportunities for personal growth while developing and encouraging their own “conservation ethic”. Learning from CWF facilitators alongside their peers, youth who join the WILD Outside program will connect with other local participants in the planning and delivery of community-based action projects in their own community.

There are many more volunteer programs available across Newfoundland and Labrador. You can often find them listed on the website of a community you live in.

Here are some links which can help you finding your volunteering opportunity:
Eastern NL Region –
Western NL Region –
Central NL Region –

Volunteering and getting involved will most likely be helpful to your physical and mental wellbeing. It will also help you meet new people, make connections in your community, and feel that you are giving back and contributing. Don’t hesitate to reach out to the organization you’d like to get involved with and ask them whether they need any support.

Before taking that plunge you might need to ask yourself what are the things you are passionate about and how much time commitment you might be able to make. Based on that you might be able to narrow it down.

Do you have any questions or need assistance with settlement in Newfoundland & Labrador? Contact me at