August Volunteer of the Month: Ian H.!

July 31, 2017

Ian is a regular fixture at our Information and Referral Services booth, helping connect everyone who walks through our doors to services, groups, and the Bute Street Clinic.  Thank you, Ian!

How did you get involved with QMUNITY?

I became involved with Qmunity back when it was called “The Centre” from 2005-2010.  I was an IRS volunteer as well as co-facilitating the men’s coming out group.  Later, I was elected to the board of directors in 2010, where I served for one year.  I returned to Qmunity in 2016 as an IRS volunteer.

Please tell us a little bit about yourself!

I am originally from Ontario, but have lived in Vancouver for 15 years.  I went to the University of Guelph and obtained my B.A. in Sociology and International Development (double major).  I did a postgraduate degree at McMaster University, graduating with a Bachelor’s of Health Sciences in occupational therapy.  I am a trained occupational therapist and work for Vancouver Coastal Health, but am currently not practising due to medical reasons.

Please describe an interaction at QMUNITY that stands out for you.

This is a tough one as almost all shifts are memorable, but the ones that really stand out for me are when an individual has the courage for the first time to call or walk through the front doors and “come out” to me.  These individuals are often scared and have had negative experiences with their sexuality or gender identity.  I enjoy being a sounding board, support and guide these individuals, helping them to feel not so isolated and to welcome them to the LGBTQ2S communities.

What’s your favourite part of the IRS role?

My favourite part of the IRS role is being the initial point of contact for people.  I get a genuine sense of reward by being able to have the privilege to serve those who call or visit Qmunity.  Matching people with resources is also a great privilege.

What items could you not survive without?

I could not survive without sunscreen, a hat, my skis, my hiking boots, and my smartphone.  Oh yeah, I also need my specialised beach chair.

Who are your ideal dinner party guests and why?

My ideal dinner guests would be family.  Since they live far away, I would like to have them over to my apartment as a group.  The guest of honour would be the matriarch of my family – my 95 year old Nana.

What’s your favourite way to spend a day in Vancouver?

My favourite thing to do in Vancouver is season dependent. In the winter it’s skiing/hiking and the summer it’s hiking and camping.

 

Message from Alannah James, Volunteer Coordinator: We so appreciate Ian’s flexibility and willingness to help. Not only is Ian a constant presence at IRS – the first point of contact for many – but he was willing to fill in scheduling gaps this summer. Thanks for going above and beyond, Ian.                                                                                     Interview by Alannah James

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