Hi everyone, firstly, thank you for taking the time to read my article! I really appreciate it. What I hope to accomplish in this article is to give you a first-hand perspective of why getting involved is so important. To start off, my name is Amogh Kadhe and I am a 4 th year student at the University of Alberta. I am a student, a speaker, and a volunteer. I have been volunteering with various organizations throughout high school and university and I have learned a lot from every experience. I will first talk about how and why I started to volunteer and then discuss some advantages of getting involved.
I encountered the idea of ‘volunteering’ or ‘volunteer work’ when I was in high school (grade 10). I still remember very vividly the first presentation we had about why it is important to volunteer. It was during that presentation that an after school program called “LinkAGES” was introduced. Through this program, students would get the opportunity to talk to seniors from a local seniors’ home in Calgary allowing both generations to talk and share experiences (hence why the Link-Ages). I would go every Monday after school to the seniors home and talk to a few seniors engaging in a very basic yet meaningful conversation. How was your day? For example, or what did you do during the week? And sometimes we would walk around, or play board games. It was not about what activity we were doing BUT the impact of that activity. You could tell that the seniors were happy and were very open to sharing their experiences and stories.
By taking time out of my day and investing one hour every Monday, I was able to make someone else’s day a little more fun. And I think, it’s here that I realized the amount of impact I could make which is when I started to pursue other volunteer opportunities.
Now, many of you might be very pragmatic thinkers and might ask why should I volunteer? What’s in it for me? I spoke about what impact your actions can have, but, by volunteering you too gain something! Below is a list of how you benefit from volunteering and getting involved with your communities:
1. You get an opportunity to meet individuals who come from diverse backgrounds and therefore, individuals with different skills set.
2. As a volunteer you learn a lot of the “soft skills”, something you might not learn in a classroom setting. For example, at one of my volunteer events I learned how to network with other individuals, how to articulate my ideas and thoughts to actively engage in a conversation.
3. You also get an opportunity to learn more about the organization/student group/local community centre or any other place you are volunteering at which, allows you to see the sort of impact you can make.
4. I am putting this ‘benefit’ last because I don’t think you should solely volunteer because of this. That reason is you get to document this experience in your resume. While it is important to build and keep adding to your resume, please don’t volunteer just because you want to include it in your resume. And if you do volunteer just for that reason, I ask that you go in with an open mind and see the amount of things you will learn from the experience.
Now, there are a lot of opportunities out there to volunteer & get involved. Your first step should be to look within your school/university/college for any programs they might offer. Then, look within your communities to see how you can get involved. It can literally be a simple google search like: “Volunteer opportunities in….” (enter your city/town here)
Long story short, I have been a very involved student throughout my 3 years of high school and the four years I have spent at University. I intend on continuing that passion to volunteer because I really think you can make an impact in people’ s lives through the time you put in. Remember it’s not about what you do always, but more about what’s the impact of what you do! I would definitely encourage you all to get involved, keep an eye out for opportunities as you truly learn from each of them while still making a difference in someone’s life!
Thank you for reading and All the best!
~ Amogh :)