CANADA GAMES COMMUNITY SPOTLIGHT: Student volunteer gives back near and far

NOTE: This is the latest in a series of stories featuring Brock students who are integrating the 2021 Canada Games into their volunteer activities. For more information on Brock’s activities around the Games, visit brocku.ca/canada-games

Hope Eze loves to help others.

While studying at Brock University, the Ugbawka, Nigeria native has managed to continue her passion for volunteering by helping local organizations and giving back to girls in need around the world.

Eze is entering the home stretch of her master’s of English Language and Literature studies, but as an active member of the Brock University Volunteer Association (BUVA), her involvement at the University has gone far beyond the classroom.

Having thrown herself into the association’s activities immediately after joining its inaugural cohort in September, Eze was a regular fixture at BUVA’s monthly skill-development meetings and has taken part in numerous volunteer opportunities, including the Canadian Wrestling Trials and other initiatives throughout Niagara.

However, the 26-year-old felt most passionate when BUVA helped her find an opportunity that resonated with women just like her.

Earlier this year, she participated in several Days for Girls events, an initiative where participants sewed sustainable menstrual hygiene kits to be sent to young women and girls around the world.

For Eze, the cause is deeply personal.

“When I started having my period, I could not afford the hygiene products that I needed and it was very uncomfortable,” she said. “It would lead to me being shy for days at a time.”

By helping to cut and sew washable sanitary pads, Eze hopes she has prevented other girls in Nigeria and elsewhere from having the same experience she did.

“A comfortable pad is something that every girl should have access to,” she said. “Our efforts are helping to make that a reality.”

Having volunteered at the January and February Days for Girls sessions at Brock, Eze must now work from home in her St. Catharines residence due to physical distancing guidelines from the COVID-19 pandemic

However, that hasn’t curbed her insatiable appetite to help others.

While she takes on the sizeable task of completing her major research paper from home, Eze has found time to begin volunteering with an online organization that works to empower teenagers from around the world through virtual meetings and coaching, and she plans to work with Days for Girls to promote Menstrual Hygiene Day on May 28.

While she is set to graduate this fall, Eze plans to continue volunteering with Days for Girls as well as setting her sights on another opportunity she learned about through BUVA.

“I’m excited to stay in Niagara and keep making a difference,” she said. “I’ve decided to volunteer with the 2021 Canada Games and I can’t wait to be part of a team of nearly 4,000 people.”

As she charts her next moves, Eze hopes others will consider volunteering with an initiative that is meaningful to them.

“Just try it,” she said. “You will meet people, learn new skills and help people in more ways than you can ever imagine.”


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