Ouhayla Mousawi found optimism through volunteering. Photo supplied by: Immigrant Services Calgary

After immigrating from Lebanon in 2014 with her immediate family, Ouhayla Mousawi viewed her life through “black glasses.” She didn’t see much hope for the future, but volunteering helped her find a sense of community and direction.

Mousawi, a freelance translator with Immigrant Services Calgary (ISC), devoted more than 75 volunteer hours to the first non-profit to help her settle in Calgary. In October 2022, she received the volunteer of the month award with ISC for her dedication to the community since 2019. 

“When I started, I had different feelings,” she said. “I was depressed. I didn’t have any hope that I could do something. But when I started volunteering, it made a big, big difference.” 

Although she struggles being far from her parents, friends, and memories in Lebanon, Mousawi looks on bright side and chooses a life of gratitude. 

“A writer called William Secker said, ‘A grateful mind is both a great and happy mind.’”

Mousawi says quotes like this remind her it is important to view life through a lens of positivity. 

YouTube video
Calgary Journal reporter Abby Parker spoke to Ouhayla Mousawi about her experience as a newcomer in Calgary.

Each year, thousands of people from around the world move to Calgary to make a new life. Our partnership with CLIP explores what it means to be a newcomer in our city and how that experience is different for everyone.

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