I had the unique experience of being a host to new immigrants through Immigrant Services Society of British Columbia. What benefits did I gain? I met people, who were starting a new life in Canada, giving me insight into the challenges that my parents experienced when they moved to Canada. There were people from China, Iran, and France. The most successful partnerships included active participation on my part, as well as the newcomers. I learned how to see my city and Canada with fresh eyes, when I helped people navigate their new lives in here. They equally got a kick out of the fact that I was a 2nd generation Canadian. By listening to their stories of their homeland, I got a sense of life in other countries. It was like a passport to everyday lives in other lands.
Although I mentored new immigrants, I would readily mentor young professionals as I am at mid-career. You might ask why I would put energy into such a relationship. The rewards are knowledge transfer, gaining insight into problems, and giving back to the library community. I have had informal mentors along the way and would like to think that by mentoring, I am supporting those who believe in organizing information and developing knowledge.
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Tags: Mentoring, volunteering