In 2011, when the Slave lake wildfire destroyed one third of the town, Luisa was seven months pregnant, working as a Temporary Foreign Worker. Her dream was to obtain her permanent residency and one day reunite with her two daughters who were in the Philippines. Facing deportation if she could not produce her immigration documentation that was destroyed by the fire, she turned to Catholic Social Services for help.
Since receiving support from CSS’ Immigration and Settlement Service in Lloydminster and obtaining her permanent residency, Luisa has made it her mission to give back to the community she now calls home.
Luisa began volunteering with CSS’ Tax Clinics in 2017, using her background in accounting to help vulnerable people in Lloydminster file their taxes. Not only does she find joy in providing support to people who would otherwise be unable to afford professional tax services, but she also goes above and beyond by helping educate clients.
“The biggest reward for me is when I get to see their faces – how excited they are when they get their refunds. I get to help them understand their rights, what they can do for their families, and what benefits they are eligible for. It is my way of giving back.” said Luisa.
Over the years her volunteering has grown beyond the tax clinics, and has become a family affair. After reuniting with her daughters in 2014 (and introducing them to their little brother), the family began volunteering at local Gateway for Newcomers events, including We are One No Borders and Christmas Around the World.
Luisa has contributed more than 100 hours through her various volunteer positions and is looking forward to her third year with CSS’ Tax Clinic. Today we celebrate her generosity, passion, and spirit, which enrich our agency and our Lloydminster community!
Thank you, Luisa!
April 19 – 25 marks National Volunteer Week 2020. Stay tuned to our website and social media channels (@cssalberta) for more celebrations throughout the week!