The volunteers cleaned parks and shorelines, served meals at shelters, manned stands at walkathons, baked cookies and made sandwiches for those in need. They also performed cleanups of roadways, weeded gardens, volunteered at Habitat for Humanity, and much more.
In total, Ismaili CIVIC worked with 26 non-profit civil society organizations.
In Mississauga, nearly 150 volunteers helped with the clean up of Financial Drive and Mississauga Valley Park. Mississauga Mayor Bonnie Crombie joined the park cleaning efforts.
“I see the spirit, the compassion, the passion that the Ismaili community has and the way they give back to the community in so many ways all the time,” said Mayor Crombie. “It’s that spirit of volunteerism that I think the Ismaili community embodies that is really infectious throughout the greater community.”
Ismaili CIVIC Day was first organized to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Canada’s confederation. In 2017 – its first year – Canadian Ismailis completed over 1.5 million hours of voluntary service.
At Parkway Forest Park in North York, Ontario, MP Geng Tan awarded the Willowdale Jamatkhana Ismaili CIVIC team with a Canada 150 Sesquicentennial pin in recognition of the Ismaili Muslim community’s long standing commitment to Canada through volunteerism and civic engagement.
In Edmonton, over 100 individuals braved winter conditions, showing up on a cold, snowy day to help plant trees in Brookside as part of the City of Edmonton’s Root for Trees initiative. Across the country, a total of 2,100 trees were planted with the help of Ismaili CIVIC.
Two volunteers, Alim Gilani, 33, and Nadim Valiyani, 35, greeted guests with hot chai while helping organize the efforts.
“Edmonton is home to me,” said Alim. “I have travelled a lot and at the end of the day it is important to come home and give back to the community through such events.”
Ferial Jassani, 59, came out to plant trees despite the adverse weather conditions.
“Although it was outside my comfort zone, I am here,” said Ferial. She was happy she had a chance to meet many people she would not have, had she stayed home.
One young volunteer who also helped with the Mississauga park cleanup, 14-year-old Rania Pirbhai, saw how Ismaili CIVIC affected others: “By setting an example, we may even inspire people,” she said. “Many people walked by and some of them helped us pick up garbage at the park cleanup.”
Mississauga MP Omar Alghabra agreed: “It’s really an example for all Canadians for how a community can come together to improve their local community, physically and socially,” he said. “It [Ismaili CIVIC] is a great example to all of us.”