Results has empowered me to step out of my comfort zone, speak up for those who cannot, and take action to end extreme poverty. My favourite thing about Results is getting to work with a passionate and like-minded group of people dedicated to making the world a better place. As an international development student, I aspire to improve the lives of others and Results has shown me how easy it can be to make a difference from within my own city.
My most inspiring volunteer experience was when I was living in Belgium. I spent Christmas Day preparing and serving food to homeless people and refugees in Brussels. We chatted with people from many different backgrounds, handed out gifts, and played tag with the children. On a day that I had previously set aside for family, it was really great to meet new people and give my time to the community.
Results has shown me that a world free of poverty is possible and it’s inspired me to see that even as an individual, I can be part of big change and that I can impact lives. I have a view of the world in which I believe that people are fundamentally good. When you have that outlook it’s easy then to view the world with compassion, empathy and hope.
One of the more powerful moments in my time with Results was when there was a danger of our losing funding for tuberculosis. One of our volunteers who had never written a Letter to the Editor before, pushed herself to learn about the issues and sent her letter to her local newspaper and it got published. The next day, the Minister for International Development responded to her letter and the funding cuts that we knew were going to happen, did not happen. I felt like that volunteer changed the world that day.
During my time at Results, I’ve seen the power of community and collaboration. Great things can happen when we collectively work together towards a better world! By listening to other people’s stories and understanding what they’re going through, we can all be more understanding and more compassionate towards one another. I love seeing volunteers being lit up by advocacy and seeing the power and impact of their actions! I feel lucky to work with such an incredible team of people - they are one of the best parts about coming to work every day.
One volunteer moment that has stood out was when I had the fortune to spend three months volunteering with displaced children in Nepal. This experience taught me resilience and gratitude; these children did not let their past define how they were going to shape their future, and are the hardest working, generous, and full-of-life children I’ve had the opportunity to know.
My favourite thing about working at Results is being able to do work that I believe in and that aligns with my values. This is an environment where if you have an idea, you can take it, run with it, and people are there to support you, empower you, and work with you.
Everyday I try to acknowledge people that I see when I’m walking down the street by smiling, saying hi, waving, and talking to people in elevators. It makes a social situation feel a little bit easier and it makes me feel human in a city. My most inspiring volunteer experience was when I was an undergrad student working on a Fairtrade campus initiative. A group of us were trying to get the university to buy more equitable products and source things like coffee, tea, and chocolate more sustainably. We actually made some significant changes at the university which amounted to around $2 million worth of Fairtrade coffee sales that supported small scale producers in the Global South.
My favourite thing about Results is the growth potential for everyone involved with the organization - from volunteers to staff. Since working here, I’ve learned so much about how vital global health is to eradicate poverty. It has expanded my international development background in worker’s rights, gender equality and economic opportunities linked to fair trade. The people who volunteer with Results are incredibly special in my view - they are a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and energy. They are always willing to learn more and expand their skills in order to create a more positive impact for people living in poverty in the Global South. They make things happen and they generate the political will needed! Results is an amazing reminder about the power of people coming together.
Mexico was my most inspiring volunteer experience. I was there for 4 months working in a centre for children living in poverty. I supported the teachers, taught English and gave workshops on environment and cultural differences. That’s where I understood the privilege I have, the power of people coming together, and the need to talk to people in a mindful manner.
My favourite thing about working at Results is the relationships you build - with Members of Parliament (MPs), our volunteers, staff, and like-minded individuals which creates a sense of community like no other. I feel I can use my many years of experience on Parliament Hill for the greater good in the world. It’s helped me build relationships with MPs from all parties to take action to show that our work is not a partisan issue. Results has taught me it’s never over ‘til it’s over, that the political will is the only way to see progress, and that better is always possible.
My most inspiring volunteer experience was when I was working with the City of Ottawa with this youth group. We would drive up to parks to talk to teens about the things they’re going through and letting them know what resources were available. It was a great way for me to connect with the community, be a leader, and help show them that they’re not alone in the struggles that they faced.
My favourite thing about working at Results is working with a team of compassionate, caring, highly intelligent, and motivated individuals who are all striving towards the same vision of a world without extreme poverty. It has empowered me by allowing me to turn my passion into meaningful employment, and taught me that advocacy has the greatest chance at success when you have advocates as diverse as possible engaged in the process.
I’m constantly advocating for different social justice issues outside of the workplace. My most inspiring volunteer experience was working at Out of the Cold Emergency Winter Shelter in Halifax. I took every opportunity I could to speak to the guests and understand what their stories were. That inspired me to recognize that poverty doesn’t just exist in isolation - there are social determinants that impact people’s livelihoods and exclude them from different opportunities.
I’ve worked with Results for over four years and have learned so much about grassroots advocacy. Prior to joining Results I worked for the Canadian government and the United Nations which gave me a good perspective on how government works, and how policy and funding decisions are made. Other issues I’m passionate about include animal rights, and getting more women into politics.
Results has empowered me as I can see directly how the actions of volunteers and staff are having a real impact on government decision-making. No action is too small and working here has empowered me to use my advocacy skills on issues I care about outside of global poverty, making me a more engaged citizen. We have an incredibly smart, ambitious, professional and dynamic team. We get things done but have a lot of fun doing so!
I really appreciate working for an organization that is doing something good for the world. I’ve travelled extensively and I’ve seen people live in different types of economic situations. It’s really important that Canadians try to improve and better other people’s lives around the world, and it’s good to be a part of that.
Compassion is a key part of my life. As a yoga teacher compassion is part of our practice. We try daily to walk through life with compassion for every human, animal, and plant, and to connect with love, strength and compassion. I sometimes volunteer at a temple in Ottawa where we prepare food to serve at homeless shelters. It always teaches me so much when interacting, connecting and sharing with others. I take my daughter so that she learns about giving her free time; to work together with different people, and to give of yourself to other people. Volunteering and giving service is so important.
Mélissa has been working with Results Canada since January 2018 where she collaborates with volunteers by empowering them to take action to end extreme poverty. “A lot of people, they want to be active, they want to speak up, they want to make a difference, they just don’t know how, and they don’t know necessarily how possible it can be.”
Mélissa’s passion is inspired by volunteers and the time they put in. She goes above and beyond to make advocacy accessible to everyone looking to make a difference and is always a friendly and welcoming face.
While Mélissa is always working to engage and empower others, she is also appreciative of the skills and confidence that she has gained from working at Results. With a Master’s degree in International Development and Globalization from the University of Ottawa, she has always had a passion for social justice and even more so now. She can’t help but speak out against injustice.
“One thing certainly that I’ve learned and I’ve gained since joining Results is confidence, and the ability to say ‘what’s the worst that’s going to happen?’. I know I just have to go for it. I’m generally a very vocal person, but I feel Results has given me the tools and resources I need to be more efficient when I speak up.”
Her dedication to making a difference goes beyond her work in Canada. With a love for travel, Mélissa has spent time in Latin American countries working with locals such as fair trade artisans, children living in poverty, and eco-tourism.
“Mexico was my first volunteer experience. I loved the warmth and openness that people had towards me and the fact that they also challenged me. I taught English and cultural differences. I also gave a workshop on environment, and that was really interesting because they challenged me and said ‘you’re North American, you are the one who’s polluting, and you’re coming here telling us not to waste water?’ That’s where I understood the privilege I have to live where I do. It showed me the direction of how I should be, how I want to be, and how we can do better. Mexico will always be very dear to my heart.”
In her spare time, Mélissa volunteers as a Fair Trade Ambassador to raise awareness about the importance of ethical business and consumption, and its impact on people and communities in the Global South. Thanks to her initiative, Results Canada is proudly a Fair Trade Workplace!