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Tis the Season to Volunteer!

Photo source: risingstarsnw.com

As winter finally comes to a close, the longer days have been giving everyone a fresh burst of energy and the urge to get outside. We figure there is no better way to channel all that extra energy than by signing up as a volunteer with a charity or organization right in your neighbourhood.

Why Volunteer?

There are many advantages to becoming a volunteer.  For one, you will dedicate some of your time and skills to a group of people that need a helping hand. Secondly, volunteering is a great way to get hands-on experience with the skills you learn in school. Also, volunteering will put you in direct contact with different types of people from various communities. Being able to work one-on-one with organizations and community members that all strive towards the same goal is an experience like no other. While you’re giving back to the community through volunteering, the community gives back to you through experience, relationships, and fulfillment.

There are tons of organizations to choose from, so it can be difficult to decide where or with who you should volunteer. The trick is to zone in on your qualities.

Share your skills

The first thing that pops up in your mind when you think about volunteering is probably a type of hands-on involvement, like serving at a soup kitchen or sorting clothes at a donation centre.  While these are very important ways that you can help out, volunteering can happen in almost any setting. Charities and non-profit organizations also need help with the administration side of things. To figure out how you can help, think about the skills you have, and how you can transfer these over in a volunteer setting. Here are a few examples:

1. You can put your IT courses to use by offering to help your favourite organization get their office computers set up.

2. All of you Microsoft Office wizards can help organizations prepare spreadsheets or other logistical tools that you learned about in your accounting courses.

3. Let’s say if you’re part of a community outreach program.  That’s a great platform to share your healthcare training in Toronto and give a class on healthy habits.

If you’re already a volunteer, you probably have a set of designated tasks within an organization. However, thanks to what you’re studying, you’ve learned some great new skills and it may be time to do more. Have a chat with a supervisor or someone in charge and let them know about the different ways you can help by applying the skills and knowledge you have.

Keep in mind that you’ll meet all sorts of people while volunteering. Networking is a snap when your dedication and personality show people how passionate you are about helping out. Most companies have a favourite charity, and what starts as a way to reach out to others could also be your path to a new career!

Here’s a question for students and alumni: How has volunteering made a difference in your life?

 

 

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