I’ve lived in urban areas all my life, whether it was a big house or a small apartment, I was always part of a community. Nevertheless, some months ago when I arrived to Calgary chasing after a new challenge, I was able to discover a very different way to live in a community, as well as having a much better understanding of the concept of living as a community. At Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association you can find many different programs that reflect community values and make it a model Community.
After a quick look in the Hillhurst Sunnyside Voice I decided to check out the ESL conversation club with my parents to practice some English and meet some new people. After a nice long talk with awesome interesting people in a very friendly environment, where everybody respects and shows much interest in hearing what the others have to say, I felt motivated to find out about how to get more involved with the community that had opened its doors to us. During one of the monthly community Potlucks last year, where I got to meet and share a meal with my new neighbors, I was told about a possibility to volunteer as a vendor in the weekly Farmer’s Market. I decided it was a great opportunity to get involved with the other members and show commitment to the market and myself.
The Hillhurst Sunnyside Farmer’s Market is a great event that takes place in a professional, but friendly environment. You can find an extensive variety of original, tasty, healthy food and products, and even do your shopping while you enjoy some exciting live music, but most important you get to interact with energetic vendors who believe in their growing businesses and serve customers with a smile every time. As a volunteer vendor, I’ve been able to learn a lot from the market, it has been a completely new experience for me that will help me gain success in my future work related fields and I had the pleasure to meet and learn more about all the amazing persons that lead the market weekly in order to create a major beneficial impact in the community.
After having become more familiar with the market and the community I decided to volunteer in the Neighbor Night program too. During the sessions kids get to use their energy in healthy fun ways, while parents engage themselves with fun activities too and neighbor interaction, not before having a tasty vegetarian meal that the program’s coordinator, Shaye and volunteers have kindly prepared to make the evening even nicer. Working with kids was a refreshing new experience for me, one that I didn’t expect to like so much. In theory, volunteers are supposed to look after the kids while they enjoy some playtime with each other, but I couldn’t avoid getting involved in play with them as if I were a child myself again. The kids’ responses made me very happy, it is very healthy for the soul to make some children smile and laugh even if it is just for a few hours a week.
To be a volunteer has been a wonderful experience for me. HSCA has shown me the right way a community should work as well as helping me with the adaptation process. HSCA is an inclusive community that will welcome you under any circumstance without hesitation. You can always find a program that suits you, from a simple interaction with your neighbors to sports recreational classes, everyone will show you a friendly face and try to assist you. From day one, I have been treated with solidarity and respect, I’ve met some awesome members of the community who I consider my friends and now I realize I am not just living in a community, but I have my own impact on it, helping the development of something we can all enjoy together as members of the community. If you are trying to find the nicest people in Calgary, you might want to check Hillhurst Sunnyside Community.
- Jonathan Cauteruccio