Meet Maureen, a volunteer facilitator at CIWA’s New Friends and Neighbourhood Groups and is July’s Volunteer of the Month.

Maureen Rollans was born and raised in Edmonton, Alberta, where she earned a Master’s Degree in Anthropology. She worked for 30 years and travelled the world as an Archeologist, before settling as a Health and Safety Officer. She and her family have also lived in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan and they have called Calgary home for 20 years.

She learned of the opportunity to volunteer with the New Friends and Neighbourhood Groups Program through Propellus. She has been facilitating groups since 2019. As a volunteer facilitator, she collaborates with another volunteer to plan and lead activities in which the women form meaningful friendships, enhance their spoken English, all while learning about life in Calgary/Canada. She believes that CIWA is a great organization that does amazing work with immigrant women.

“CIWA fills an important niche that women need and they appreciate the services they receive.”

Volunteering has given Maureen structure and a sense of a purpose after taking an early retirement. She finds fulfillment in seeing participants learn, grow, and form friendships as they settle in a new city. She enjoys observing women share their knowledge with one another in order to support each other as they learn new things together while building a new life in Canada. She loves spending time with a diverse group of women who are talented, intelligent, and brave.

Maureen shares that she is learning constantly as a volunteer group facilitator. She learns about cultures, languages, foods, specialty stores in Calgary, and more. She also finds new activities and discovers ways to explain things about the English language.

Maureen transitioned flawlessly from volunteering in-person to leading groups online. Although she misses in-person gatherings, she has found facilitating on Zoom to be rewarding. She enjoys leading the women in new and different ways. In order to give them an exceptional experience every week, she helps participants settle and lessen the impact of the isolation that many women have experienced in the past year.

She has been a steadfast volunteer who brings her very best each and every week. She has a remarkable way of simplifying language concepts that would best support participants in achieving English fluency. Maureen also has a beautiful knack for sparking creative conversations and ensuring everyone has a chance to talk and share.

Her genuine care for the women shines through. The participants praise her for the safe and fun environment she and her co-facilitator foster each week. She has a tremendous ability to lead a diverse groups of women in a way that is inclusive and helps everyone learn and grow regardless of their background and/or fluency with speaking English.

Maureen is an avid water polo player. She also enjoys learning her family history and exploring the neighbourhood with their senior dog.

Congratulations, Maureen, for being Volunteer of the Month for July! Click here for more information on volunteering opportunities.