Back to school . . . Start (continue) your volunteering journey!

There’s no better time than during the first week after Labour Day to get our Peel region students in a volunteering frame of mind.

If you are just entering high school and have not volunteered before, your school likely will acquaint you with the ‘community hours’ graduation requirement through its website or by way of school board online information. Much of that stresses the formalities. If you are in Grade 10 and above, you may be saying, “I’ve heard this all before”, with a tendency to dismiss the announcements and information out of hand.

Add to that the risk of lulling yourself into a false sense of security amidst outright procrastination. “I’ll get the hours in … sometime.” Or “The school will take care of this, because it’s the school’s responsibility” Nothing could be further from the truth.

Volunteering starts and ends with you. Why not get a head start on those 40 hours? Why not put in the extra effort in order to enjoy a truly fulfilling volunteering experience? The worst scenario is having a reluctance to volunteer that is aggravated by being desperate to obtain the mandatory hours, or miss graduation. And the person who loses the most in that avoidable situation is YOU.

(On the totally win-win side, building a record of volunteerism can put you in a position to apply for a post-secondary scholarship.)

As Volunteer MBC is about to celebrate its 10th anniversary, let’s look at 10 ways to help you with your ’community service’:

1. Mind over Matter

Experiences that we enjoy tend to fly by, fueled by a positive, anticipatory attitude. Don’t let the ’40 hours’ control you by being a source of worry. Rather, you should take the initiative, get organized, and plan your volunteering. Creating a ‘profile’ with Volunteer MBC is a huge step in the right direction, helping you define what you want to do, plus providing you with generous access to volunteering opportunities, at no cost to you.

2. Make your schedule work for you

It’s amazing just how much time we waste thinking about this or that, especially when we often wonder if we’ll have enough time. Well, time seems short because we weren’t doing what we were thinking about. Early in the school year, establish a time budget and healthy routines that include time for you, your family, school (learning), recreation (not just sports), and volunteering. Remember that a ‘wasted
hour’ is not recoverable. It’s gone forever.

3. Get your ‘hours’ in during the good weather (especially the Fall)

(Springtime is nice, too, but it’s difficult to enjoy when you’re in a panic over completing the requirement!)

4. Become a Volunteer MBC ‘Step Up Volunteer Youth Ambassador’

As ‘volunteer positions’ go, this is a unique opportunity to learn about the volunteering sector in Peel, network with fellow students and for worthy causes, and develop your leadership skills and community presence, all while truly earning your ‘hours’. If you haven’t looked into this program, CLICK HERE.

5. The value of EVENTS

Particularly if you are new to volunteering, spending a day or a weekend helping out during an event is an excellent introduction. Short and sweet. Often highly social and a great way to make new friends.

6. Don’t ignore the OBVIOUS

A common concern among students is that volunteering opportunities “just aren’t out there”. Yes, these are, but you may be looking at one, yet not seeing (recognizing) it. Arguably the better volunteering roles are defined by the volunteer. It could be as easy as a neighbourhood cleanup of a ravine or rehabilitation of a playground. How delightful it is to be able to say that you not only volunteered, but also that you
created the opportunity and benefit!

7. Try something a little DIFFERENT

At Volunteer MBC, we ask aspiring volunteers if as part of their experience they would like to learn a new skill, acquire a new hobby, become involved in a new ‘community’, etc. We encourage all to step outside the box. Why not you?!

8. Use the Internet

Volunteering is all about people, and Volunteer MBC is passionate about connecting people. While it is not the only way, certainly the Internet has made needed and vital connections easy to establish, and it’s a natural place to start. And online volunteering does exist, as well.

9. Don’t be shy. ASK!

A key benefit to volunteers during their volunteering experiences is that they gain confidence. There are ‘life lessons’ ready to be learned in helping others, especially the less fortunate and vulnerable, through getting involved. Build your confidence by asking, enquiring, committing, doing. And charities are ready to help YOU.

10. Volunteer MBC is here for YOU!

As we enter our eleventh year of volunteer support in Peel region, our youth has never been more important for Volunteer MBC and for our communities. We will never stop repeating that our services are an ‘open door’ for you, leading to the best that a volunteering experience can be.