Maria was a young child when her family moved to Calgary from Pakistan. She holds a Bachelor of Science and is a researcher at one of Calgary’s hospitals.  

Maria was motivated to volunteer and support immigrant youth as she remembered her personal immigration experience. She also vividly recalls witnessing her parents navigate the waters of living in a new country. She recalled that she ‘learned a lot through trial and error’ and was motivated to support other newcomers, especially women with hopes of helping them avoid some of the same mistakes. She knew she had plenty of lived experience to help support others and genuinely seeks to give newcomer youth plenty of coaching and guidance.

Maria began volunteering as a Youth Mentor in 2022. Maria is very involved in her community and with volunteerism. She is an incredibly generous and well-rounded individual and is very empathetic and well-spoken. Maria has gone above and beyond for her mentee and for her mentee’s family. She taught the family how to use transit, accompanied them to dentist appointments, and explored halal restaurant options with her mentee and mentees’ family. She is literally the perfect example of what an amazing volunteer is like as she doesn’t wait to be told what to do or how to do it, she takes the initiative. Her mentee is incredibly fortunate to have found her, just as the Youth Mentorship Program is incredibly fortunate to have Maria as our volunteer mentor

Maria also did exceptional work with CIWA’s Youth Forum. She supported with planning the event, leading activities, guiding people and other speakers, and did a beautiful job emceeing the entire event. She brought life and vivacity to the forum giving attendees a well-rounded and enjoyable experience.

Maria says she loves volunteering in general. She gets great satisfaction and joy knowing what she does makes an impactful difference in the lives of others. 


“Volunteering takes away from the stress of the world and makes me more empathetic.” Mary says

Maria also adds, ‘volunteering has helped me gain confidence in many areas of my life. For example, I am now more open to taking on opportunities that I may have said no to in the past. Being the MC for the youth forum really helped me strengthen my public speaking skills and my event planning skills!’

She says volunteering has helped her out a lot as well. She has learned about different cultures; barriers newcomers face and it makes her more empathetic.  She said everyone has something unique to contribute and learning from others makes her more well-rounded.

Maria’s most favourite hobby aside from volunteering is to crochet. She’s had a tremendous amount of fun learning new skills and making different items.