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The Benefits of Volunteering for Newcomers to Canada

According to the 2013 General Social Survey (GSS), 59% of Canadians aged 15 years and older, have volunteered for a charitable or non-profit organization or group at some point in their lives – and we have seen first-hand what an incredible impact this kind of contribution can have on the community.

...a great opportunity to gain Canadian experience, expand their network, and learn to work with diverse groups.

Newcomers to Canada are quick to realize that volunteering is an integral part of Canadian culture – and a really great way to learn more about that culture, too. For the recent immigrants who volunteer at NYCH, the role is a great opportunity to gain Canadian experience, expand their network, and learn to work with diverse groups.

NYCH volunteers are also placed on a mailing list where they receive community news and job postings, which is particularly helpful for new Canadians who are looking to connect with their neighbours or hoping to enter the Canadian labour market. 

Newcomer volunteers can even meet with staff members who will assist them with resume writing and interview techniques, and provide references for job applications. This can be a major confidence boost to newcomers looking for work – and we have seen many volunteers eventually getting hired based on their skills, knowledge, and the experience they gained from volunteering. 

A group of NYCH volunteers

...we provide mentorship because it is a stepping stone to help newcomers reach their goals.

On the other side of the coin, we have seen volunteers who were born in Canada or have lived here for some time, offering their support to newcomers and helping them in their settlement and integration into the community. This has been especially evident in our Mentorship Program. “At North York Community House, we provide mentorship because it is a stepping stone to help newcomers reach their goals.” says Gulcin, NYCH’s Mentorship Program Worker

He is very supportive and helpful, and he answered a lot of my questions...

Volunteer mentors assist newcomers in their professional and social development in a variety of ways, such as providing tips and resources, helping to improve English language skills and expand professional networks, sharing insights into Canadian workplace culture, and quite simply, being there to answer questions when things get complicated.

A recent Mentorship Program Participant described his experience, saying, “I am glad that I got to meet a good mentor like Alex. He is very supportive and helpful, and he answered a lot of my questions, which will definitely help me in my job search. This meeting was very fruitful for me.”

This guidance, in both group and one-on-one mentoring sessions, plays an important part in a newcomer’s journey towards becoming part of the community, finding meaningful employment and building the confidence, knowledge and skills to achieve their goals. 

We are grateful for all of the volunteers who generously give back to the community – and happy that all of this hard work and dedication can make a difference in the lives of so many new Canadians.

Learn more about volunteering at NYCH
Learn more about our Mentorship Program



11 Places in Toronto to spend time with your family


11 Places in Toronto to spend time with your family

From museums to parks, and everywhere in between, Toronto is home to so many places that the whole family can enjoy. We asked our staff members where they like spend quality time with their loved ones, and this is what they had to say:

High Park

"High Park is a great place for families - you can have a picnic, play sports, see animals at the zoo, and even go fishing in Grenadier Pond. And don't miss the cherry blossoms in the spring!"
- Howard

Toronto Island

The Toronto Islands – specifically, Ward's Island. Great view of the city, and yet you feel so far from it. Lovely looking at the homes over there!” - Judy

Taric Mosque

“On Family Day, I am planning to go for brunch at Taric Mosque - there is a fundraising event for Syrian families.” - Lubna

Queen Street West

"Queen Street West and Kensington Market; for its antique & local stores, graffiti alley, art galleries, and long stretch of diverse restaurants." - Ella

Nathan Phillips Square

“Skating at Nathan Phillips Square!” - Dayanne


“Depending on the weather, I would love to spend some quality time with my family at the Harbourfront. My typical type of enjoyment will be going on a lunch cruise, enjoying scenic beauty and feeling that calm winter breeze surrounded by the people I love most." - Dilani

“Ice Skating at Harbourfront Centre! Also, they have DJ Skate Nights every Saturday at that location." - Mehrraz

The Theatre

“When the big shows come, we (my mom and I, especially) always try to get cheap tickets, and we like to see smaller shows too. Seeing Kinky Boots next Wednesday!” - Madison

The Distillery District

The Distillery District and the antique market at St. Lawrence Market on Sunday mornings. Took my mom there last time she visited.

TIFF is also a great place to go with family. The TIFF Next Wave Film Festival for young movie lovers is on at the TIFF Bell Lightbox. The lineup looks awesome and it's free for youth from 14-18!”
- Annie

St. Jacobs Farmers' Market

“About an hour outside of downtown Toronto is the Mennonite Farmers' Market in St. Jacobs. It is nice to see how people survived without today's technology...the simple life.” - Lucy

The Auto Show

“With a house full of boys, they want to go to the Canadian International Auto Show.”
- Rashmi

The Art Gallery of Ontario

“Kensington Market and St. Lawrence Market; the Art Gallery of Ontario has interactive kids stuff; the Royal Ontario Museum; Riverdale Farm is lovely; The Inuit Art Gallery if you're at Harbourfront; and Gooderham & Worts in the Distillery District.”
- Stephanie

Looking for some places to go this Family Day Weekend? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Family Sunday in the Beach | February 14 | 12pm - 4pm
  • Great Canadian Chill | February 15 | Yonge-Dundas Square 
  • Zion Schoolhouse | 1091 Finch Ave.E | February 15 | 1pm - 4pm
  • Purina Paws Way | 245 Queens Quay W. | February 15 | 11am - 5pm 
  • HarbourKIDS Snowglobe - Natrel Rink | 235 Queens Quay W. | February 15 | 11am - 5pm
  • Family Fun Fest | Downsview Park | February 13-15 | Child - $25, Adult - $8$
  • Hockey Hall of Frame | February 15 | 10am - 5pm - Up to a maximum of 4 youth (13 yrs & under) will be admitted FREE* with the purchase of one regular price adult admission

See a list of indoor and outdoor activities organized by the City of Toronto