Volunteering can be therapeutic for many people. A way of stepping back from everything and focusing on something else. Barbara Mackenzie used volunteering as a way of helping to identify with what she wanted to do with her life after being laid off from her 15 year career as a project manager in a nuclear engineering firm.
Barbara decided to volunteer with Volunteer MBC and The Multicultural History Society of Ontario (MHSO). Unsure about her future, she committed one year to volunteerism, in order to gain a new perspective in an area she knew little about. Her volunteer work gave her a new viewpoint of the not-for-profit world and the time to reflect on what would be the best next step for her career. Her volunteer roles included being the Volunteer Engagement Assistant at Volunteer MBC, as well as an editor for MHSO where she edited transcripts from immigrants. One of the biggest changes that happened with the transition from her work life to volunteer is her change of perspective. Perspective of how much value that volunteers can add to the organizations through their volunteer work. When volunteers are passionate about what they do then this encourages the not-for-profit organizations to become more passionate, as well in helping out. Barbara wishes that more people in the private-sector would volunteer to see what it is like in the not-for-profit community and to see what the changes and impact of volunteering are.
Along with having a changed perspective, one of the benefits that Barbara feels she has received is being able to volunteer at an organization that relies heavily on the work of the volunteers, especially since some of the organizations wouldn’t be as successful without them. Barbara now works at a not-for- profit organization; a position she got as a direct result of the contacts she made by volunteering. Through all of her work and volunteer experience, she encourages others to continue to try volunteering. Even if someone doesn’t get the perfect match right away, then look for another one. Opportunities arise all the time, and it can hinder more than help hoping for one position when plenty more are out there.
Overall Barbara feels that volunteering at Volunteer MBC has been the right step for her, “It gave me the new perspective I was looking for and reassured me that leaving the private sector world was the right choice. It was exactly the right decision for me!”
Written by: Andrew Dmytrasz