‘This is where I belong’ : Celebrating CNH Volunteer Najia Elancel

April 24-30 is National Volunteer Week! We recently celebrated CNH’s volunteers through a virtual Volunteer Appreciation Event to thank them for their dedication and generosity to the community.

With this year’s theme being “Volunteering is Empathy in Action,” Collingwood Neighbourhood House’s volunteers have shown this in droves by supporting our programs and services. As CNH continued to deal with the impact of the pandemic, the organization relied on the assistance of up to 900 volunteers.

In 2020, The Bhayana Foundation and the United Way partnered to select three people across Canada either volunteering or working in the non-profit sector. They wanted to highlight the important and deeply meaningful work being done by individuals in a sector that really doesn’t get the attention it deserves. 

Najia Elancel was one of the three selected and was the only one chosen from Western Canada! Check out this video from Charity Village, which they filmed in 2020, which is a wonderful display of Najia’s journey as a volunteer at CNH. 

From Najia herself:

“I think once I walked in the door with my two little children, I think these people gave life back to me. […] I looked at them and I looked at their eyes, and I looked at myself and I went, ‘omigod, this is where I belong.”

“It’s not like we choose to do what we do because we want to get awarded for it. We do what we do because we love to do it–and especially for me, I do it from my heart.”

Congratulations on this award, Najia, and thank you for your service to the community!