Meet Lani Domaloy.
“I moved to Victoria in October 2014 from Toronto after living there for almost 10 years. Not long after I arrived, I was introduced to the Filipino community. First, I was invited to attend and be an observer during one of the Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre’s board meetings. Listening, I was interested to know about its structure, its roots and its operations. Starting my life on the Island I thought about immersing myself in the community. There is a significant difference between living in a big cosmopolitan city not having a strong attachment to your own cultural community versus an island setting where you feel knit together either by interests, language, cuisine, dialect or faith.
Having no formal volunteering background and after attending a few of the Philippine Bayanihan Community Centre events such as the Sunday open house, I soon ended up as Board Secretary. At first, I was anxious about my role being new in the city and the community. The rest of the directors guided, mentored and showed me the ropes. In between, I learned about the art of community service.
I have witnessed and experienced firsthand program execution. From applying for grants to writing reports. Like any other program, it takes a huge amount of time to coordinate and put things together–it is a full-time job. Also, Bayanihan has been at the forefront in its commitment to social responsibility. I may not be involved in the Syrian refugee project; however, it feels good to be part of an organization that practice empathy and sensitivity to the community at large. Through the volunteering process, I am not only honing my skills but also affirming the values I keep to heart.
Being part of Bayanihan is also a good way to network. Collaboration with other community partners could open doors to so many possibilities. I was awarded a short-term grant from Royal Roads University indirectly through a friend from Bayanihan. I was shortlisted for the Federal Internship for Newcomers Program through VIRCS, another community partner. These and more essentially provides an intangible value towards volunteering and my life in general.
Knowing the history and humble beginnings of the Bayanihan, it inspired me to be more involved, more generous with my time and skills to help maintain its place in Victoria’s map.”