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Sophia Qaderi

IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Finalist - Sophia Qaderi
IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Finalist - Sophia Qaderi
245 votes
Sophia Qaderi
Occupation: Student
Home Country: Canada

Why should you be the IVHQ volunteer of the year?

I’m very passionate when it comes to helping people in general and I’m committed to help as many as possible. I have joined a group in St Albert by the name of REEP. This group plans and promotes environmental awareness for the city. We planned and planted over 400 trees in St Albert with the public around the Sturgeon River and this group also plans the Clean Up The River Event in St Albert. I believe it’s my job to encourage the public and local schools to come to the events and plant and clean the cities most needed areas. I also joined a volunteer group called Soaring in St Albert where they volunteer at different local events and meet every Sunday which they plan how to promote volunteering in the city. One of my major fundraiser with them was collecting toys and children supplies for the Stollery Hospital and Victim Services. I also collected backpacks and filled them with school supplies and donated it to the food bank through the Soaring organization. I hope to play major roles in my school clubs as well. I joined 5 clubs in my school and one of them was called Change For Africa. In this group we raised money with the club to support building a school and a clinic in Kenya. Not only do I work locally, but internationally as well. I collected clothing at my parents tailor shop and sent it abroad with Canadian soldiers and donated many to homeless shelters. I also worked at Mcdonalds for almost 4 years and took a portion of my savings to India and gave them to the poor on the streets.I love to collect school supplies from local schools with my father and send much of it over to Afghanistan. I went to the Heritage festival in Edmonton and fundraised money for families in Afghanistan by providing henna tattoos to the public. My mother and I worked 3 days straight and raised over $1700. I was also awarded $2500 for these acts and I decided to donate the money to the Islamic Relief Foundation. The foundation is known to take donations to war torn countries and help the citizens with food,water,and basic survival needs. I hope to inspire and support people around me and I work hard in everything I’m involved in. Some fundraisers more in depth with my clubs are selling food at my school which reacted quickly to the Tsunami of the Philippians, fundraising to become part of a volunteer group that will take me abroad to teach or build a school in different country, volunteering with a tailor shop 5 times a week, reading and teaching at the public library to children in grade 2, helps mentor youth at elementary schools. I go and speak to students about how they can get involved with the community and how they can help give their time and efforts back to organizations in need. If needed for a fundraiser, I reach out through social media and makes the public aware of a need. I’m known for organizing events in my city such as the Clean Up The River event, to make people aware of the environmental impacts. I encourage friends and family to get involved and inspires the upcoming generation to step up and act. But it’s not always fun and games, problems must be dealt with before becoming successful. The river is an repeated example however it is a great example because there was lots of garbage and trash in and around the area. My team and I reached out to the public and caught their attention to the issue. Now there are over 400 trees planted and reduced garbage around the area. I help provide financial help internationally to war torn nations in order to help children and families receive their basic needs and comfort. Innocent people are affected overseas greatly and I made their issue my own. My parents came from a war torn country and the stories they tell me from their childhood is just devastating. I watch the news every night and think whether or not I can do something to help. Youth my age lack the opportunities that I have in front of me so I always know to be grateful and humble in times when I feel down. I would like to make my parents proud and let them know that I am using my opportunities that they didn’t have as kids in a positive way. I also hope to make my city proud because of their support they give me. Last but not least, I hope to make the people that I help and continue to help proud, so I can let them know they have someone supporting them always in rough times.

What motivated you to get involved with volunteering?

I watch the news every night and read local and global news on social media since I was a young girl. There was always something tragic or people needed help somehow every time I would watch the news. Seeing these situations helped motivate me to become a better person and helped build my character. It sparked a fire in me and as I continued to help , the flame grew bigger and bigger. Also when I volunteer, the faces I put smiles on just made my day and just pushed me to help out whether it be big or small. Preserving volunteering and aid is something I believe is worth caring for in my community and even globally. It is our duty as citizens of a developed nation to give back to others. Just because you have a better off life, doesn’t mean you can just forget about others who do not. Volunteering is a powerful, practical and sustainable way to tackle poverty and inequality. If we do not preserve this significant duty, then the world would lack humanity. At the age of eleven, this thought crossed me. I decided to make sure to volunteer at least once very week. I would rather spend my time helping in some way then be a couch potato at home. To preserve something so significant, you must act upon it regularly be very committed because once the passion is gone, then the importance is gone. Volunteering started to become a habit for me and it’s almost addicting for me. I would volunteer at my parents tailor shop 4-5 times a week and I would join as many clubs as I could at school. Then I broadened my horizons to reach out to other nations. Volunteering is like a faith all on its own, so the more people know and work upon it, then it sparks a fire, almost like a revolution. I go to schools and speak to students about the importance of volunteering and how it should play a major role in youth’s daily life. Whether big or small, help always creates a ripple effect that affects those you would never even reach. I started off with influencing family, friends, my community, and now time to hit it globally. Showing off the importance of aid to people is showing how much you care for a cause. Influencing and acting upon an duty is what keeps it alive. I realized the only way for myself to become a better person, is for me to push myself. There are always to become the person you dream to be and you don’t need a cheerleader or a coach to always better you. I learned you have to become your own cheerleader and your own personal coach and motivate yourself to your dreams. It’s a lonely world as bad as it sounds and the only person you need to beat is yourself. You need to push yourself your comfort zone and create your own story because no one is going to do that for you. It’s every man for himself. This relationship with myself is creating the person I am today. If i didn’t sit down and realize what i wanted in life, then I would be nowhere near where i wish to be. It wasn’t my parents or my friends or any person I know tell me what to do, it was just me and for that I’m grateful. Im grateful because it helped me break out of my own shell and step out of my comfort zone and tackle on my own situations without anyone holding my hand. It is nice having people by your side and helping you here and there however the only person that will be with you from the start to the end is yourself and only yourself. I taught myself how to face my fears and start interacting with my surroundings. This part of me influenced me to create a journey for myself and to create a change not only to me, but also to myself. I live in a world where i share it with 7 billion other people. If people are needing help , then it is my duty to help just as much I would expect the same back.

How much time do you dedicate to volunteering?

I started volunteering since I was eleven years of age. I dedicate at least 10 hours a week to volunteering duties. I’m now 18 years old and I’m proud to say I have volunteered over 600 hours total of volunteer service to my community and abroad. I love to do it and I feel incomplete when I miss a volunteer session. It has become a habit for me to volunteer and I try to do my best to do it daily.

What is the most rewarding part of your volunteer work?

The most rewarding part about my volunteer work is that I created a change in someone’s life and in the world. Knowing the child and her family will not have to worry about sleeping hungry at night and seeing their sad and destroyed life have happiness just fulfills my duty as being human. Being productive and bringing smiles to faces makes me very grateful of the life I lead. Whenever I’m having a bad day, I know someone else has gone through and is going through worst than me. I’m a more grateful and stronger mentally person.

What is the greatest challenge of your volunteer work?

The greatest challenge for me is I know there is so many people and so many situations i wish to fix locally and globally however I can’t do them all at once. I love to help out as much as possible but I have to understand that I’m only human and I can only solve/help some situations one at a time.

Why do you believe you will be effective volunteering within a community abroad?

-An example of another challenge for me and the steps I took to solve it: I decided to fundraise for Afghanistan at the local heritage festival. Many doubts popped into my head such as will I attracted anyone to donate, will there be room for me at the festival, will I raise much money, will there be enough time to fundraise a decent amount of money, etc. I started to lose confidence but I didn’t allow negativity get to me. I sat down and planned out exactly how I would run this fundraiser . Planning and preparing helped push out my negativity. I decided I would start early in the morning and work until late night for 3 days in a row in order to tackle on the time limit I had. I worked 13 hour shifts all 3 days so I didn’t have an excuse about missing time. As for the situation of attracting enough people to my tent, I quickly made signs and put them around my tent and the festival. My idea had worked perfectly and I attracted a lineup in less than 10 minutes. I also went around the festival showing people pictures of the henna tattoos, this attracted quite a bit of people too. I also put my price down to $5-$30 for each tattoo. I was the cheapest henna tattoo service at the festival, this also caught people’s attention. Since my prices were super affordable, my goal in my mind was around most $300-$400. But the amount of hard work paid off at the end of the 3 days and I made $1700 ! I was astonished and proud at the same time. It was quite an amazing experience and this roadblock taught me how to become a leader and a hard worker. It taught me to become creative on how to tackle any situation and to never lose faith in my dreams and goals.

  • I also am fluent in English and Persian, and a bit fluent in french.

  • I have CPR A Training

  • I tutor English to children and adults in my community

  • I have experienced what it is like to interact with people from a different nation like when I went to India to aid there

  • I work with an environmental committee within my community and I have competed twice at Envirothon Canada

  • I’m committed and passionate and I’m known to be a quick thinker and worker

What are you hoping to gain from an international volunteer experience?

I hope to gain diverse volunteer knowledge and opportunities . I would love to see and experience a new nation’s culture and history while learning about ways to help the issues the country faces. I would love to learn and improve skills and my character as a person. I would also love to meet and make friends with people who have similar interested that I have. I would like to hear experiences of other volunteers and how they wish to become successful and the steps they took to become the difference maker they are today.

IVHQ Volunteer of the Year Finalist - Megan HueyPrevious Volunteer Megan Huey
Danica Hubbard - IVHQ Volunteer of the Year FinalistNext Volunteer Danica Hubbard

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