The majority of our breakfast programs volunteers are women, and a large number of them are moms. Women that are generous with their time and devoted to making a positive difference in the day of each student they serve. To celebrate Mother’s Day, we’re introducing you to one of these very special moms: Nadia.
Nadia and her husband left war-torn Algeria in 2004 to start their life over in Quebec. They moved to the suburb of Longueuil, where she found work as a restaurant manager. They had two children: Masthas and Nadine. After a few years, the couple had saved enough money to buy a house.
Six years of hard work in the restaurant business took its toll on Nadia. She was exhausted. She always had the feeling she could do more and that she was meant for something ‘bigger’. The young mom was naturally generous, always helping everyone around: “My mother always told me, whatever you can give to others, give it. Give everything you can for the greater good.” Nadia wanted to get involved in her community, while also staying close to her children as they grew up: “I love children. When I was younger, I dreamed of becoming a teacher. My sister jokes about how I used to pretend I was a teacher and imagined myself teaching a class”.
Nadia decided to start working at the elementary school her children attended. However, in order to land a job, she had to get her high school equivalency: “In Algeria, I finished high school, I got my diploma, but I had to do it all over again here. But, I did it!” Her perseverance paid off: shortly afterward, she became a lunchtime monitor. “I loved being around children at school and I was lucky enough to see my own children more often.”
One day, the head volunteer at the breakfast program had to leave and she referred Nadia as her replacement. That’s where her story with the Club began, and it has been going strong for 5 years: “Every morning during the school year, I arrive at 6:00 AM and I prepare everything for breakfast to be ready when the kids arrive.”
She serves approximately 65 students daily with the help of one volunteer, sometimes two. “When I’m alone, my kids come to school early to give me a hand.” She is very well organized and her breakfast area is always squeaky clean. “I’m a hard worker, I like to stay busy and give my time to others. That’s what the breakfast program allows me to do.”
Nadia doesn’t just serve breakfast. She takes care of the children, teaches them things, organizes special mornings for them, and comfort them when things are not going well. “What I love about the breakfast club is that all the children come together, like a little family.” She loves each and every one of the children who attend the club and sees them all as equals. “Part of me feels like they are all my children, that’s what my heart says.” She hears stories from parents who tell her how happy they are to know that their children eat well before starting their day. She always makes sure they have had enough to eat and wishes them a good day. “Before running off to class, my son Masthas always comes to give me a big hug and a kiss.”
Did you love Nadia’s story? Why not share it with your mom!