If you are a person who says, I don't have time to give to my community, I hope you read Paul's story.
I was first introduced to Paul when I volunteered for Tim Hortons Camp Day. Paul quickly showed me how Tim's manages coffee on their busiest day of the year without mixing up batches, floating grinds, and properly stirring up a triple/triple. Ever so patient, Paul's kindness was appreciated.
Fast forward, on one of many visits through Tim's drive through, Paul reminds me to hit up the community picnic late August. The CommUNITY Picnic organized by the Cochrane Immigrant Services Committee is something Paul is part of and passionate about. You see, it was not that long ago that Paul was a new comer to Cochrane.
Born and raised in Punjab northern India, Paul's home city has more people than Canada living in it. Deciding to venture from India on a trip of self-discovery, Paul headed to Toronto's Humber College and took a food and beverage service program. After college, a friend recommended Paul should head west, and that is exactly what he did. "When I came down the hill, it looked so amazing. I told him I want to live here. It has been three years now and I am happily living here. It is a beautiful town, I am grateful to be here."
While Paul misses his parents and some good home cooked food, he has come to Cochrane with a willingness to help. Not really knowing anyone in the community, on his second day in town Paul signed up as a volunteer through Family Community Support Services.
Besides volunteering for the Cochrane Immigrant Services Committee, Paul also volunteers for the Boys and Girls Club and Helping Hands; reality is Paul would help anyone that needs a hand up in the Cochrane community. "I was once told the best benefit you get is self-satisfaction. If you help somebody at the end of the day and you wake up in the morning and see yourself in the mirror you will see that you did something good today to somebody and my mom always said 'if you can't do good, don't do bad'. For me, I have been helped in this town and in a different province so if I can indirectly or directly help somebody then why not? If I have been helped then why can't I help somebody else?!"
The one thing that Paul does notice is Cochrane's amazing community spirit and heart. "In this town, everybody's putting up their effort, there's lots of volunteers. Volunteers come out in a force, it shows the community has a need and the community has the eagerness to help out."
Besides giving back to the community, Paul has three jobs; working for the Town Of Cochrane, Tim Hortons, and for Southland, I am left in awe how he fits it all in. "I do all part time jobs and it is great opportunity to work for all three of them. Each place has a different environment to work in."
Paul looks forward to trading in his landed immigrant status and becoming a Canadian citizen in the not too distant future. "It will probably take another year or so. I would love to get it in Cochrane (citizenship) it is a different feeling when it is your home town and there are people cheering you on."
Kindheartedness exudes from Paul. He is a man who shows that love and kindness have no borders. "I don't feel myself as a great person because I don't think I am at that level but I would say my good quality is my openness to meet everybody. I meet everybody with an open heart."
Growing, continuing to learn, and being more involved in the community, are all part of Paul's future. There is no doubt in my mind that one day his kindness will be returned three fold. I believe there is something we can learn from everyone, Paul reminded me the reason why I volunteer. Performing a selfless act makes you feel different about yourself, and imagine that one act can ripple kindness and encourage others to help. Imagine what the world would be like if we all just gave a little more.