As a Ph.D. student studying evolution, Mauro Sugawara spends a lot of his time hitting the books. He wanted to do something in his free time that would be beneficial to the community. Helping out on moves with Shelter Movers Vancouver was the perfect escape for him and it had the added benefit of making a difference in his community.
Mauro has been with Shelter Movers Vancouver for a year and has quickly moved up the ranks to become Lead Mover. As a Lead Mover, he’s responsible for his move team and makes sure all moves go according to plan. He also ensures that clients and volunteers feel safe and that their boundaries are respected.
When asked about what stands out to him about volunteering with Shelter Movers, he says it’s the people the organization supports. “On some of the moves, I was really shocked about the situation,” Mauro explains. He talks about a woman who he could just tell was at her wit’s end with her situation. She was pregnant and had a young child to look after, but she knew she had to keep it together and be strong. “Even after the move, I was like ‘I wish I could do more’.” These stories are eye-opening for someone who has never experienced gender-based violence and provide important context for why free moving and storage services are so crucial for people who make the difficult decision to leave their abuser.
But not every story is one of heaviness and sorrow. Mauro recalls another move where a little girl befriended him and took an active interest in the process. “She was helping us move stuff, like pushing boxes and everything. She was really talkative, really friendly.” Despite it being a long and difficult move, the little girl’s infectious energy made Mauro realize that he was making a difference in someone else’s life.