Working Gear would not exist without our volunteers. As a way to pay gratitude, as well as inspire, Volunteer Stories is series of interviews that highlight our volunteers’ hard work as well as their experiences with Working Gear. We are excited to introduce our diverse family of volunteers to the Working Gear community.
Cal Chan is Working Gear’s Volunteer Fashion Stylist
Hey! I’m Calvin Chan. I moved here from Toronto in 2014 originally as a 3D animator. After years of working in the industry, I found myself feeling unfulfilled with the work I was doing and only looking forward to the next pay cheque. Craving to do something that had more purpose and meaning for myself and for those in my community. I discovered that I had a knack for fashion, creativity, and style. Looking into the field of fashion, I found a path to becoming a personal stylist consultant. I saw value in dressing up, dressing down, and dressing accordingly to how we feel. I believe that everyone is creative, made unique with different personalities, shapes, and sizes from one another. Yet trends in fashion confine us to fall within the box of what is currently “in”. My focus as a stylist is helping people feel bold and confident about their image, unique to stand out from the crowd while still being relative with our peers.
Q. How long have you been involved with Working Gear?
A. Since Oct 7th, 2017
Q. What are your reasons for getting involved with Working Gear?
A. To be able to help someone toward their journey of getting back into the workplace. With Working Gear, we can physically clothe them and empower them to be ready with the right attire for their first day of work.
Q. What is your view on volunteering?
A. I think it’s an important thing to be apart of, an act of service to the city and your community. Not seen as a chore, but as a way to give back for what you have been given.
Q. What is the most rewarding part of volunteering with Working Gear?
A. The most rewarding thing for me is seeing the look on my “client’s” face staring in the mirror with memories flooding back of how good it felt when they last put on a suit or were dressed up, having the confidence to get over the hurdle and begin their transition back into the work field!
Q. How do you keep from burning out in your volunteer role, how do you find balance/ inspiration/ motivation?
A. Knowing when rest is needed, whether it’s being sick or it’s been a hard week at work, would it benefit your client in your current state? It’s important knowing that volunteering at Working Gear, we are helping our clients make a difference in their lives. That in itself should be taken seriously but of course enjoyable for their experience!
Q. What is something you wish people knew about Working Gear that they might not understand or might otherwise overlook?
A. Everything that we giveaway is donated or discarded items that we have received from donors in the city. What we are doing is helping prolong the lifespan of discarded clothes and passing it onto someone who would value them for the next journey, instead of it ending up in landfills or sent away to developing countries to deal with the items we no longer want.
Q.What’s your best advice for people that want to get involved but don’t know how or where to start?
A. Everyone is in need of help at some point in their life. For someone to be able to receive, there has to be someone who gives. Do something for someone even if it seems so minuscule-it will matter to someone.
Q. Anything else you would like to add?
A. We are always looking for donations! Clothes, socks, shoes! If you need help cleaning out your closet, you can contact me for further help! firstname.lastname@example.org