Why Volunteer?

Friday, November 25, 2005

  • Lend a hand?

    Lend a hand?

Written by Candice Riley

University can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences in your lifetime. Sure you have to deal with all the ups and downs of schoolwork, but this experience is not just solely based around what you do in the classroom. This period of your life is also shaped by the interactions and relationships you develop outside of the intimate university community.

For many of us, we volunteered at some point in the communities where we grew up. Volunteering seems to be easy to do in a community that people are connected to. As a student at the University of Guelph you are a part of the Guelph community, and you should think of yourself as an official “Guelphite,” so consider getting involved in the community that you now call home.

Volunteering is a perfect way to give back to the community. Many U of G students volunteer around the city and consider it an integral part of their time spent at university. Through volunteering, you can form a connection with the community and strengthen the connection between the university and the city of Guelph.

Because there are so many different and unique volunteer positions throughout the city, you can really get to know the neighbourhoods in which you live and also the people that you share this city with. Volunteering can give you new skills or even enhance the ones you already have. You will have the opportunity to meet people who can introduce you to new and interesting ideas and teach you things that cannot be learned in a classroom. Also, if you are thinking of what you are actually going to do after your years at Guelph, volunteering can give you great experience in a field that you might want to enter.

(How about volunteering with us here, at thecannon.ca?

When you volunteer, you are donating whatever time you can spare to help a great cause. If you can volunteer a couple times a week, or even just spare a few hours a month, volunteering any amount of your time will not only benefit the organization but also yourself.

There are volunteer experiences like coaching a sports team or working with an after-school program that can give great experience working with kids of all ages. There are also high schools around the city that bring in students to be classroom assistants, which is great for your teacher’s college applications. You can join a board or committee and help organize special events that help bring neighbourhoods together. Volunteers are also welcomed at various long-term care facilities where you can be a walking companion for a resident or just listen to some fantastic stories.

There are valuable volunteer positions out there waiting for you. We are very lucky here at the University of Guelph to have organizations that put so much time and effort into providing the information you would need to take the next step. Student Volunteer Connections, located in Raithby House, has a great database full of positions available to students through the iCan database – www.uoguelph.ca/~svc. Also, you can get involved in one day projects through Guelph Serves – www.studentlife.uoguelph.ca/citizencommunity. So if you are interested in volunteering at all, contact one of these organizations and find out what positions appeal to you.

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