Volunteer of the Month

Sara Naghedi Ahmadi

Sara
Naghedi Ahmadi

Sara Naghedi Ahmadi is Immigrant Services Calgary’s Volunteer of the Month.

Sara has been a volunteer with Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) since 2011 and is an energetic and involved individual. Sara has volunteered in several roles at ISC where she participates in a variety of activities. By the end of Sara’s first year at ISC, she had already completed 95 volunteer hours.

“Sara is an amazing volunteer with our senior ladies’ fitness class. Most recently, she was one of the choreographers of a dance performance for our annual National Seniors Day celebration. She has really engaged our senior ladies, so much so that they have invited their friends to join the sessions. I am inspired by her creativity, passion and dedication to improving the lives of newcomers. She is an absolute pleasure to work with and our seniors love her!” – Roda, Coordinator, Community Initiatives for Immigrant Seniors Program

 “Sarah has been a valuable help at ISC’s main reception desk for several months now. She is professional in her work, takes initiative to provide diverse and high-quality administrative support at Immigrant Services Calgary, and is fun and pleasant to work with!” – Gezim Fetahu, Receptionist

No matter the task or role, Sara is never the one to say ‘no’ when it comes to helping others. Not surprisingly, in her eight years of volunteering with ISC Sara has contributed over 675 volunteer hours!

This is Sara’s story.

"I am from Iran. Before moving to Canada, my life was literally full of melodies and rhythms! I have a BA in music from the Fine Art Faculty of Tehran University. In Tehran, I was a music teacher, a partner in the Duet Music Institute, and a member of the Tehran Choir Symphony.

I spent much of my adolescence teaching music in my own time to girls and their families at my mother’s workplace, which was a care centre for females with Down Syndrome. Subsequently, I became involved in other tasks such as facilitating educational presentations and workshops to raise public awareness about this genetic disorder. I ended up making some great lifelong friends and enduring memories. The mere thought of those days brings a smile to my face today!

Growing up in a family where my mother had devoted her life to helping the vulnerable members of society and foster children, I promised myself that I would not to take anything for granted in life. I am thankful to my parents, especially to my mother, for teaching me how to appreciate every single blessing I am offered in life. There is always a lesson to be learned from every fortunate or unfortunate experience! Her sincere dedication and valuable contributions to society had a remarkable impact on my life, awakening my spirit of volunteerism and making me the person I am today. 

Immigrating to Canada, we first landed in Halifax, NS in 2008 and I could not have asked for a better place to start. From the amazing scenery of Peggy’s Cove to the beautiful waterfront of downtown Halifax, where the distant horns of cruise ships would wake us up in those dreamy foggy days; from the wonderful and kind Canadians to our amazing fellow Iranians – we never felt that we were just newcomers.

While living in Halifax, I took courses and finished English for Academic Purposes at the Nova Scotia Community College. In 2010, we ended up moving to the west coast and chose Calgary as our new home. Then, I continued my education in arts at Mount Royal University.

I found Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC) while browsing the internet during one of the coldest nights of the winter of 2011. My involvement with ISC started with an interpretation assignment, which turned out to be one of the most rewarding jobs I have had in my entire life. Interpretation assignments have allowed me to both assist and learn from clients with language barriers. It has been an honor to be part of their journey, to listen to their unique stories, and to help them to find their voice. I am forever grateful for this experience. Since then, I have been volunteering for ISC in different areas. I care deeply about people and love serving them. There is no better feeling than receiving support when you need it and giving back when you are able. 

Along with all the valuable experiences I have acquired while living in Canada, which I will treasure for the rest of my life, I have always kept thoughts of my family close to me. Being thousands of miles away from my Mother and Aunt, there are times when I feel sad that I cannot be there for them. I decided to fill the void in my heart and volunteer with senior ladies. By teaching them to dance, I intend to lift their spirits and improve their health. This has turned out to be an amazing experience, full of joy and fulfilment. Suddenly, it was as though I was surrounded by many adorable aunties from all around the world.

I think that life is the most beautiful gift we are given. We should participate in it to the fullest to make the world a better place to live. I have tried to instil this value in my daughter, who will soon be an independent member of society, by being a decent role model and responsible citizen. My advice to her is “be your best self, always return to the community and let the circle be unbroken!’

I would like to thank Immigrant Services Calgary for this recognition and for letting me into their wonderful team. I learned a lot from this dynamic, vibrant and inclusive organization.  The beautiful and supportive people here at Immigrant Services Calgary warm my heart, and their professionalism fills me with awe every time I come here." 

Thank you, Sara! It is an absolute privilege to work with you. Your generous and energetic personality brings so much to our team. Congratulations!