April 7-13 marks Volunteer Week in Newfoundland and Labrador. Volunteers are the backbones of our communities and without the incredible work that they do, there are many things that would not run as smoothly, and many organizations that would likely be unable to function.
As someone who has spent so many years as a volunteer, I feel I can say with absolute certainty that volunteering adds so much to your life. I have spent time as a swim instructor for Easter Seals, and a crisis line volunteer for the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre. Most recently, I was a clinic assistant for Planned Parenthood Newfoundland and Labrador and I am now President of the board.
As a volunteer, you get to participate in so many rewarding experiences. The people you meet and help through your work enrich your life in ways you couldn’t possibly imagine unless you’re a volunteer yourself. And the people that you volunteer with often become some of the best friends you’ll ever have. I know this because I met my best friend while volunteering for my campus’ resource centre for marginalized genders.
There is no downside to volunteering. You get to be an active member of your community, you get to spend time doing something that makes someone else’s day better, and you get to feel good about yourself. If that’s not enough reason to volunteer, I don’t know what is!
Not to mention, volunteers are the backbone of our communities. There are so many organizations that would be unable to fulfill their mandates without the help of their amazing volunteers. Thinking about the Newfoundland and Labrador Sexual Assault Crisis and Prevention Centre and Planned Parenthood, these are prime examples of how this is true. Without volunteers, there would be no one to answer the phone when a crisis call came in. Without volunteers to run clinics, Planned Parenthood would often have to close because there would not be enough people to keep the place open.
I leave you with this. If you are someone who volunteers anywhere at all, thank you. Your selflessness is so greatly appreciated by society and the people you serve. If you are not a volunteer but would like to become one, I suggest figuring out what your passion is and find an organization to volunteer with that matches your own personal values. I promise you, it will probably be the most rewarding experience of your life.
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