Well, it looks like it’s back-to-back cousin guest posts! This week, my cousin Danisha is writing from Montreal where she attended further schooling in public relations and philanthropy while working for Big Brothers Big Sisters – an organization close to her heart. Once her schooling was complete, she stayed on in Montreal but soon will relocate to Edmonton where her family lives. The theme of her story is one of my favourites – when work and play equal the same thing.
Please welcome, Danisha!
When you meet someone new for the first time, one of the first questions is “What do you do for a living?” It’s a standard question that no one ever thinks twice about. Subsequently, the next question will be “What do you do for fun?” This is where it gets interesting…because for me, the answer is the same. I love my job.
Before going any further, I should probably clarify what I do. I’m the In-School Program Coordinator with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Montreal. In essence, this means that I get to recruit volunteers to be mentors to at-risk children needing help in academic perseverance and personal development. It means I get to help others make a difference in the lives of children. What’s so special about this organization is that I grew up with a Big Sister from the agency, myself. My involvement as a recipient of the services over numerous years (let’s not give away my age) has been so impactful in my life that it can only bring me joy to continue to be part of the process for others.
I love that I can spend a day in a school getting to know a child who is dealing with social issues in their lives and/or doesn’t have an adult to turn to. I love hearing about a volunteer’s motivation to become a mentor and the environment that has impacted their decision. A person who volunteers their time, even if it’s as small as one hour per week, is a hero in my eyes.
Going to work every morning is fun. Sure, it’s not a movie, or salsa dancing, or reading (all of which I’m passionate about as well). But the feeling I receive is beyond that. I’m fortunate to work with my colleagues, who are like a family to me. I’m fortunate that I can take my adorable puppy to work everyday and that everyone treats him like a spoiled prince. I’m fortunate that I’m surrounded by people who want to give their time to making a difference in their community, particularly my colleagues and volunteers. And I’m especially fortunate to be part of the lives of children who are continuously learning and growing.
Many people have passions. And all too often, they turn into hobbies because of the demands of other aspects of their lives – work, children, spouses, debts etc. Not many people can say that they are able to practice what they’re passionate about on a daily basis. And I’m so grateful that I can.
The last three years of my life in Montreal have been incredible. And now I’m transitioning to a new period in my life…moving back home to be close to family and friends, settling down etc. But one thing that will never change will be my balance between work and play. Continuing to do what I love…makes life so much more enjoyable!
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Danisha Bhaloo combines her experiences and passions as a writer, social services worker and public relations consultant to provide unique objectives and coaching to various individuals, not-for-profit organizations and small businesses. Based on her passion to help those in need, she focuses on projects that raise money and awareness on various issues including crime prevention, children and youth-at-risk, women’s development, poverty, elder abuse and neglect.
With 10 years of professional experience, Danisha has succesfully implemented mentoring programs for children and youth without positive role models in their lives and has raised over $500 000.00 through a combination of services including grant writing, fundraising, event planning, media and government support for charitable organizations.
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