I had the pleasure of being invited to the MY Voice Volunteer Appreciation Dinner which was held on Friday, September 20th, 2019 at the Sagan Banquet. MY Voice celebrated their 6th year anniversary of the launch of the magazine, “For the youth, and by the youth.” I started to volunteer at MY Voice Canada at the start of May by accepting the role of a ‘Current Events Reporter’ which is to produce articles monthly on the website. I was attending the annual appreciation dinner for the first time. Since I produce articles for the website, I communicate through emails and do not really have faces to any of the names. I didn’t really know anyone. It was terrifying.

As I entered the room of bright lights, shiny dresses and fancy pant suits with big smiles all I thought of was that these weren’t ‘faces I had names for’. After greeting myself to a group of girls, and taking bites of the spring roll trying to look pleasant, I began to question how this night will go or if it would just be me trying to sit still hearing speeches all night.

However, the night took a turn when a comedian, Hoodo Hersi, took the stage, making jokes after jokes as laughter and bright smiles stretched across the room. As she finished and thanked the crowd, I made a mental note to research more about her, and to possibly go and see an event of hers. Claps are heard and the night moves forward with awards given to young men and women with incredible skills and talents.

Seeing all these young people winning awards for their excellence made me proud to be apart of something great. Inspiration and motivation literally filled the air with speeches from many leaders in the organization and from around the GTA, one being, Yasin Ahmed, a khateeb and teacher in mosques and universities throughout the city. All the speakers talked engagingly with the audience stretching the smiles on peoples faces wider and wider, and the number of stomachs growling increased too.

Now they were not kidding when they said, “I am sure everyone’s hungry!” because I sure was and they were not messing around with dinner. From rice to pasta, butter chicken to fried chicken, steamed veggies to potato salad and chickpea mix to buttery naan. You name it, they had it all and let me tell you it was nothing but, heaven in your mouth!

Not only was the dinner amazing, the conversations made at dinner and the buzz of people getting to know one another was just as great. I had the pleasure of meeting many incredible people. Maryam Khan, one of the many new faces to me, actually came from New York, I mean talk about dedication.

As the magical night wrapped up in Mississauga, I found myself not wanting to leave. From being very anxious to meet new people to actually not wanting the night to end, I think it’s safe to say, that night will always be a night I’ll never forget. I was reminded of why I wanted to join the team in the first place. I wanted to be apart of something inspiring.

As a journalism student, it helped me in ways I never thought it would. Sure it gave me experience, but most of all it gave me a voice, MY Voice.


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