Written by Allison Harrison
Volunteer opportunities can be limitless, they can also be fun exciting ways to get involved with something you feel extremely passionate about. What is volunteering? It is the commitment of time and energy, for the benefit of the society and the community, the environment or individuals outside one’s immediate family. It is undertaken freely and by choice, without concern for financial gain.
Benefits of volunteering:
· help you connect with others
· energize your body and mind
· advance your career by obtaining new skills
· fun and fulfilling.
Connections with others is big in today’s society, networking is one of the greatest ways to advance yourself in life, whether it be to benefit your career or your social life. The skills you gain from volunteering can benefit your career path. Not everyone is able to commit to school on a full or part time basis, but the casual opportunity volunteering can provide can help build a skill you may not have or help in further development with ones you already have. Seniors benefit as much from volunteering as an anyone else, keeping a commitment can help ward off depression, and give a sense of belonging that may be missing from their daily lives. Children benefit from volunteering as well, it helps foster empathy and a sense of self efficacy, both characteristics that if learned at a young age can boost emotional and cognitive learning.
So how do you pick the right volunteer opportunity for you? Choose a cause you are passionate about. Not only does it benefit you with fulfillment, but the organization also benefits from your enthusiasm and drive. Choose an opportunity that matches your interests, skills, and schedule. Do not be afraid to step out of your comfort zone either, that is where true skill building comes into play. Upload your resume on volunteer sites to help those looking for volunteers understand your skills and interests while giving them a general idea of who you are. Stay in touch with those who you have given a resume to, volunteering is no different that applying for a job and those who stay on top of places you have contacted will not go unnoticed.
The experience you get from volunteering is up to you.
Basic principles to keep in mind are:
· honour your volunteer commitments
· the time you committed to them is important and necessary and was already planned for
· stay professional, volunteering is often an assigned role and an opportunity that should be treated the same as a paid position
· take the opportunity to let the organization know what you like about the role and what you feel could be improved upon when asked
· you are an important part in helping many organizations and not for profit stay in the game
Here at Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association, we have an extensive and varied selection of opportunities, which can be found by visiting: www.HSCA.ca. You can participate in a range of activities or event such as, food programs, Casinos, recreational programs (such as soccer), Board of Directors positions, committees, supporting seniors and more. For all of the above reasons and more we hope you will consider lending your time and skills to Hillhurst Sunnyside Community Association and your neighbours, plus, HSCA hosts a pretty amazing volunteer appreciation dinner you can get an invite to in recognition of your support.