23 Jun The more I volunteer, the more lives I want to change
As a newcomer to Canada, Samantha was super shy.
Her English wasn’t very good and she couldn’t leave the house at all.
“Canada was just completely different from Uganda. I remember our first Christmas here – it was the first time I saw snow. The weather was so cold! I was used to living on the equator, where it’s 30 C or 40 C every day.”
Finding her way
At first, Samantha struggled on her own to figure things out. But then she found help.
“My mom was in Canada with us for a while. Then she went back to Uganda and it was just me and my sisters. My dad was here too, but he was usually working, so I had to be responsible for my sisters. That was quite hard. But we would do United Way programs. There was a story time program at the library, which I loved. I also played sports—I went to all of the programs.”
Then she started helping out at community programs herself.
“When I first started volunteering, we would go feed people who were homeless. It was nice to give back. Helping my community has more meaning for me now. Sometimes I walk around my neighbourhood, and if I see someone in need, I buy them food. When I see a person who is homeless, I get them a cup of coffee and say, ‘This is for you.’
Learning how to lead
She says helping others has helped her become a better person.
“I often think, ‘Where would I be without United Way?’ And honestly, I probably wouldn’t be as involved in my community as I am. I don’t think I would be going out there and doing random acts of kindness, like writing little notes that can make someone’s day, or telling people, ‘Hey, I love your smile,’ or ‘I like your style.’ I feel like volunteering has given me a lot of confidence and built leadership skills for me as a young woman.
“The more I volunteer, the more lives I want to change and the more people I want to impact,” Samantha says. “It’s always nice to help. I feel better being involved in these programs. I’ve gained so much.”
Across our region, 15,860 children under the age of 18 live with low income, according to the most recent Census data (2016). Many struggle to find a path to a better future.
At United Way Simcoe Muskoka, our donors help local youth find and keep safe housing, stay in school, and gain life-skills and other supports to become independent and successful adults.
Local giving. Local love. #LocalLove