“My name is Rigel Tormon. I am currently an undergraduate student majoring in Chemical Engineering at the University of Calgary. I was born in Iloilo, a province in the Visayas island group in the Philippines. My family initially moved to Canada in 2009, but I went back home the same year. Later, upon realizing that moving here would afford me opportunities I would otherwise not have access to and would provide a conducive environment for growth and independence, I moved back to Canada in 2017. Uprooting my life and going into a new place did not come easy, especially considering that I moved in the middle of the school year and in the middle of senior high school. I had to learn things on my own, oftentimes the hard way, but I was lucky enough to have a support system that looked out for me and always provided a helping hand when push comes to shove. After graduating high school in 2019, I looked for volunteering opportunities specifically catering to immigrant students, in hopes that I can share what I learned through my experience and ultimately give back to the community. After searching, I found the Calgary Bridge Foundation for Youth and their NxtGen Homework Club program as the perfect fit.
I aimed to provide assistance to students not only in their short-term academic goals e.g. homework, course planning, etc. but also on their long-term goals, especially those revolving around their plans for post-secondary. Through my first-hand struggles in acclimating to this new environment, I hoped that I can use my experience to make the transition towards living in Canada a bit easier for immigrant students. Talking with students and relating how I experienced similar circumstances allowed me to connect to them more deeply, which made them more responsive and more willing to open up whenever they needed help, thus making the tutoring sessions productive and effective. Most importantly, openly discussing the challenges we faced made them feel that they are not alone — something that I believe should be acknowledged early on. Although there were some late nights in the winter, seeing the students become more at ease and dedicate their effort towards their studies made the weekly treks in the snow worth it. Volunteering for CBFY is an immense honor, and I am deeply grateful for having the opportunity to make an impact on the lives of newcomer youth” Rigel Tormon.