From Kylie Denis – A Matthew House Volunteer since June 2014:
I am really excited to have the opportunity to volunteer at Matthew House Ottawa. I am a recent graduate of Carleton University where I completed my undergraduate degree in Law with a minor in Political Science. My research has a strong human rights background and focused primarily on the rights of refugee claimants in Canada. My interest in refugee matters developed from studying citizenship as a legal and political status. I learned that non-citizens are particularly vulnerable persons in society because their lack of citizenship.
My research eventually led me to participate in a month-long internship last January in Myanmar where I had the privilege of volunteering with a human rights organization. Many of the organization's members lived in exile as refugees during the years of military dictatorship. It was a truly rewarding and eye-opening experience. This year, I will be returning to Southeast Asia to volunteer again, this time with a human rights organization that works with refugees, migrant workers and victims of trafficking in Malaysia. Volunteering overseas provides me with a better understanding of the experiences of refugees by allowing me an opportunity to work directly with affected communities.
When I returned from volunteering overseas this year I wanted to be able to continue to work in the human rights field and MHO was a natural fit. It is a perfect complement to the abstract and theoretical knowledge I acquired in my years of schooling. I am also pursuing a career in immigration law, so this position is providing me with valuable hands-on experience in my field. I am still a fairly new volunteer at MHO but it already feels like home. I love going to my volunteer shift once a week. The staff and the residents are all incredible people and I feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with each of them. It is also really rewarding knowing that I am contributing positively to a cause that I am deeply passionate about. I am so grateful to Matthew House for this experience!