April 15-21, 2018 is National Volunteer Week in Canada. Organizations, agencies, and societies across the country are celebrating and showing appreciation to the generous and hardworking individuals who make the lives of others a little easier.
Volunteering is part of the curriculum at my son’s school. It never was when I was growing up, but knowing what I know now, I wish it had been. Volunteering benefits nonprofit organizations, including schools, in our communities and around the world which would not be able to operate otherwise. By volunteering, you are assisting some of the most vulnerable members of our society. Freely giving your time to others in need enriches YOUR life and the lives of the people you help.
Tips for Finding the Right Volunteer Position For You
- Decide who or what are you passionate about. The environment, women, sports, animals, children, persons with disabilities, newcomers, finding a cure for life-threating illnesses? The number of deserving causes is infinite.
- Determine how much time you can commit. Do you have a few hours a week/month to help on a regular basis or a few hours a year to help out at an annual event?
- Consider your talents. Whether you are an epic cook, a superstar fundraiser, an expert organizer, a dog-whisperer, or simply a kind soul who wants to serve food to the less fortunate, somebody needs somebody like you. It might be that you want to offer a similar service as your day job to people who would not be able to afford your services. On the other hand, you might have an entirely different set of skills outside your day job that you bring to the table. It can be a wonderful way to exercise your another side of your personality.
- Ascertain if you’d fancy working with people in a large group, a small group or by yourself. Volunteering can be very social if you want it to be. However, some people prefer positions that allow them to be in a small intimate setting or even on their own to work with animals or things.
- Be aware some places may require a criminal record check, especially when working with youth, and that you may be asked to pay for this out of pocket.
Why I Volunteer at Dress For Success
This month also marks my one year anniversary of volunteering with Dress For Success.
Helping women of all ages and sizes feel confident and attractive is something I feel passionate about. Dress For Success is an organization that shares the same values. Dressing women who are entering or re-entering the workforce after experiencing monumental challenges is fun for me. Helping them look and feel like a million dollars is profoundly rewarding.
I’ve dressed women recovering from cancer treatment, new immigrants, women with disabilities and women fleeing abusive relationships. I’ve dressed women young enough to be my daughter and women old enough to be my older sister. We are all positively changed because of the experience.
Like many entrepreneurs, I don’t have a group of co-workers in my day job. To me, part of the appeal of volunteering is the camaraderie that comes with working on a team. Conversely, there is another gal who volunteers there in the sorting room. She works in a busy office during the day and enjoys the solitude of the back room whenever she volunteers. She finds peace and calm in the almost meditative ritual of systematically organizing and distributing.
I was hesitant about the twice a month commitment at first, but the 3-hour shifts quickly became something I look forward to time and again.
Finding Volunteer Opportunities in Your Community
Looking to volunteer in your community? I have no doubt your local elementary or high school needs volunteers in a variety of capacities. If other people’s children are not your thing, GoVolunteer.ca has a massive list of organizations recruiting short-term and long-term helpers. Whether you want to give a hand at a one-day event or you’re looking for a regular gig, there is something for everyone across a broad spectrum of worthy causes. Sign up as a family, a group, a couple, with a friend or by yourself.
You and your community will be better for it.