Each month, we highlight one of our dedicated volunteers, who is helping us to make a difference in the community. To help kick off 2022, we decided to highlight two volunteers in January. Meet our January 2022 Volunteers of the Month!
As any parent will know, children are always watching, listening and observing the adults in their lives. That’s why Davina Boulineau knew she wanted to be a positive example of how one person can play a large part in the success of any community.
Davina decided to affect real change by becoming a volunteer with WoodGreen more than three years ago. During that time, she has delivered workshops to clients in several programs. She’s worked with single mothers in the Homeward Bound program, teens at the Youth Wellness Centre, and newcomers with the Community Connections program.
Davina’s knowledge is inspiring to clients, but she is perhaps most appreciated for the great energy and enthusiasm she brings to whatever she does. Whether it’s speaking about diversity or belonging in the workplace or teaching presentation skills or even explaining the insurance industry to clients, Davina is committed to the work she does.
She says while she loves helping clients to change their lives for the better, volunteering has been a gift in Davina’s own life. "My involvement with WoodGreen has helped me to tap into my full potential," she says.
Davina says she’s convinced that every day she volunteers with WoodGreen she learns from her clients and their experiences, and gains a little inspiration for her own life as well.
Saniya Bhutta spends a lot of time focused on numbers, but she says the most rewarding work she does cannot be measured.
Saniya volunteers at WoodGreen as a facilitator for a money management course within the Homeward Bound program. The course is part of the four-year intensive education and employment wrap-around program for single mothers.
“I am a huge champion of education as a tool for upward social mobility,” says Saniya, “so the program itself aligns very closely with my personal values.”
The focus of the Homeward Bound program is teaching participants life skills while they receive a college education. The program, which began in 2004, is unique in Canada and works to eliminate the barriers that single mothers face in trying to move out of poverty. The goal is to put women on the road to employment upon graduation. The participants also learn sound financial management skills, thanks to volunteers like Saniya.
“The most valuable aspect of my volunteer work is knowing that the program is changing lives,” says Saniya. “By providing safe living arrangements, education, and employment opportunities [it] empowers women to achieve financial independence.”