The Art of Volunteering

Photo Credit: Jamil Rhajiak
Tina Dhillon


“What does peace look like to you?” That’s what children were asked to consider for an artful fundraiser spearheaded by Tina Dhillon, an alumna and Senior Facilities Planner at UBC.

As a member of the UBC community for 12 years, Tina understands that part of the university’s mandate is improving communities in ways that are both sustainable and meaningful. “I think it’s really great when kids learn to think about the greater world and have the opportunity to be involved in acts of global citizenship,” she says.

For the past 11 years, Tina has been involved with an organization called Children’s International Summer Villages (CISV). “This international global friendship group was started by a psychologist named Doris Allen,” explains Tina. “She decided through her work that the best way to achieve world peace was through the education and friendship of children.”

Tina, who is Co-Chair for CISV, explains their mission is to “educate and inspire action for a more just and peaceful world.” Children participate in life-changing programs where they get to spend time together in different countries. But since CISV is non profit, fundraising is a constant challenge.”
In order to raise money and awareness for CISV this year, Tina came up with a unique idea. Kids participating in a January mini camp were asked to generate statements based on the question: “What does peace look like to you?”

The answers were both insightful and profound. “For example,” says Tina, “one child came up with: ‘Peace is a dance with the rest of the world.’”

All the statements were then collected and distributed to established and emerging artists around Vancouver. “We asked them to illustrate these peace statements,” Tina explains.

The resulting exhibit, called Peace by Piece, is currently on display at UBC’s Boulevard Café.

“All the paintings are $100, and they continue to sell,” says Tina. “We wanted to keep it reasonable to draw more attention to our organization.” She adds that CISV is continually looking for volunteers who are interested in working with youth to promote global citizenship—anyone over the age of 21 is eligible.

Tina gratefully acknowledges the university did not charge for displaying the artwork. “This is great example of how UBC opens itself to the community,” she says.

Enabling children to transform into globally minded citizens is a meaningful example of UBC and its alumni are working to enrich and strengthen the greater community.” I come from a family of public service,” says Tina. For me, volunteering is a given. My philosophy and advice to my children, and others, has always been: when you do good for others, you feel good about yourself.”

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