Julie Zhu, Q’s June Volunteer of the Month
May 25, 2018
My name is Julie Zhu and my pronouns are she and her.
- How did you get involved with QMUNITY?
I wanted to have some experience working in the nonprofit sector, and a friend of mine recommended QMUNITY. I approached the Volunteer Coordinator and was happy to hear there was little stress to apply for a volunteer position. The process was very straightforward and quick. There was no interview required or long waiting time process the application. Once I was assigned to the IRS desk, I loved the experience working with clients and staff members.
- Tell me a bit about yourself!
I often call myself half Chinese and half Canadian. I came from China and spent half of my life precisely at this point of my life I have now spent half of my life in China and half in Canada. I appreciate both cultures and intend to keep my “Chineseness” as I keep “growing” myself in Canada. I came to Canada as an international student at UBC, but now I consider Canada my home. I love personal growth and working with people. I believe we can all thrive if given the proper support and encouragement. I really appreciate the fact that Canada has so many social services and non-profit organizations that specialize in different areas to support underprivileged populations in many ways, which is not always the case in many developing countries like China.
- What’s your favorite part of volunteering at QMUNITY?
I love interacting with clients and supporting the staff members. To give empathy to clients, to encourage clients and to find resources for them are gratifying. I also have learned so much from clients: their resilience, resourcefulness, and ingenuity to challenges in life.
- Tell me a short story of an interaction at QMUNITY that stands out for you.
There are so many stories that have cast a great impression on me. These experiences not only showcase clients’ trust in us, but also reflect how appreciative and supportive clients are towards QMUNITY. My very recent volunteer work was to make phone calls to remind clients, allies, supporters that our IDAHOT event tickets are on sale. I was prepared for various forms of decline. But instead, not only was I not reprimanded for making such a phone call to them, but I also often heard potential participants’ kind and encouraging words, “Thank you for excellent work that QMUNITY has done for the community, and “thank you for making a contribution to QMUNITY.” Additionally, some folks would even answer my phone call at the airport before boarding a flight or on the way to an important meeting. I am so touched by the excellent work that QMUNITY has done for the community as well as by the sincere care of the clients, allies and supporters have been on QMUNITY’s side.
- What does your happy place look like?
My happy place would be traveling to a new country and a new city, where I can appreciate the culture and people up close and in person.
- What is your favorite food and why
Gotta to be Chinese food! Being a half Chinese as I claimed earlier, I can’t live a few days without eating rice!
- What items could you not survive without?
I think precisely I would word this question as what could I not survive without. People! I love working with and for people! Without human interaction, I would quickly wither for sure.
- What’s your favorite way to spend a day in Vancouver?
Oddly my favorite way seems to change from time to time. These days my favorite moment is to see my son working attentively to catch up his missing homework; I sit on the beanbag in our living-room, appreciating the green color in the park across the street, looking at people playing and laughing and enjoying life, and I let my mind drift without any particular intention, just relaxing and feeling content and appreciating the life.