When I stopped to think about my answer to the question “Why do I volunteer?” The answer really comes down to it making me feel good. I am fortunate to be in a position where I can support myself and I am healthy enough to do pretty much anything I want to do.
I feel it is my responsibility as a member of my community to support the community where I can. It makes sense to me to spend some of my spare time helping out with causes that mean something to me. Part of what got me where I am today is the skills and experiences I gained while studying at Waterloo. I am happy to help as I want to see the University thrive. I have met some great people in the process. Volunteering can help you build skills that extend into other parts of your life. Many volunteer positions require management skills, negotiation skills as well as dealing with the public.
If you are looking to increase your skill set, seek out a volunteer position where you can expand your knowledge and skills. You never know who you might meet while volunteering; you can add people to your network that may benefit you in the future. LinkedIn suggests your volunteer history can be valuable when looking for a new job. You can also develop some great friendships. I have moved several times and one way to meet people in a new community is to get involved and volunteer.
Volunteering has always been a part of my life. My parents were role models for me as they were volunteers while I was growing up. I was very involved in the Girl Guides both as a member and as a leader. Service is an important part of its program. There are many ways that you can volunteer your time.
It can be as simple as participating in a blood donor clinic on campus (I remember these from when I was on campus). Whether it is walking for the Heart and Stroke Association, doing a 5K in support of Breast Cancer, sorting food at the local food bank, organizing the Canada Day Picnic for the Digital Moose Lounge or helping out with the University of Waterloo Alumni, it is a small amount of my time which I hope will make a positive difference in other people’s lives.
The people I have met and the friends I have made is an added bonus. I encourage everyone to look around and find a volunteer opportunity in your neighbourhood.