There are many ways in which someone can volunteer. It is not only helping out at soup kitchens or at a clothing donation centre (although those are both great places to volunteer), it’s about aiding the people in need or those who we think need the most help. Volunteering is also about helping out at a company to gain some valuable experience and meet new people. That is the case with Kendra Martin.
When she moved to Mississauga while completing her masters in Industrial Relations and Human Resources, Kendra decided that volunteering would be a good use of her time. She would be able to meet new people and the position was closely related to her education, so she could get some hands on experience while simultaneously helping out her community.
She has volunteered for Volunteer MBC working with Catholic Family Services of Peel-Dufferin, the Vita Centre and the Family Education Centre mostly in a consultant role. This was a great opportunity for her to apply what she has learned in school to the workforce and to see the real world representations of it. Her role was to consult on matters that closely related to Human Resources, such as a database to keep track of the volunteers and helping the three different agencies with their cohesive policies.
One of the benefits of her volunteer experience is the amount of opportunities she has had that she would not have, had she simply started working. As she has said, “With volunteering, it is treated as a learning opportunity where you feel comfortable making mistakes and learning from them and learning from people around you. Whereas when you are working, people expect you to already know everything and you feel worried about making any mistakes.” The opportunity to feel comfortable about asking questions while volunteering and applying her education was invaluable to her. She was able to develop new skills and see the theory she learned in school connected to real world situations.
When asked about her greatest accomplishment in her volunteer role, she stated it was when she was asked to present a webinar for Volunteer MBC. She felt honored that they had asked her to give the presentation, and in doing so it allowed her to work on her presentation skills and public speaking. The whole process of it all was a great achievement for her.
Some advice that she has for future volunteers is to find an opportunity you are passionate about. If you are passionate about it and plan on doing something related to that as a career in the future then the new skills you will learn through volunteering will also benefit you professionally in the future. Additionally, when volunteering don’t be afraid to ask questions, volunteering is all about getting the most you can out of the experience and saying “yes” to new opportunities. The webinar was beyond the scope of her original volunteer position, but she considers it to be one of her biggest accomplishments.
Written by: Andrew Dmytrasz