Being a young adult in today’s society I feel a great responsibility to help out; whether it’s in my community, province, another country or anywhere! There are so many ways that young adults can help! Youth have the power to make a big difference in our world.
Since winning the title of Miss British Columbia World, I have been volunteering with a number of organizations, such as “The Little Black Dress Gala” and “Sole Girls,” which I’ve written about in my blog. I also volunteer for the “Look Good, Feel Better” workshops in Kelowna, BC where I help women who are facing cancer by giving them makeovers and teaching them beauty techniques. I am so moved by how these women are facing their battles with cancer. They are trying to feel normal in a life that is by no means normal, as they try to manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatment.
In the past, I have also helped raise funds and volunteered for such charities as the Salvation Army, “Because I Am A Girl,” “OWL” (Orphaned Wildlife Rehabilitation), Hollyburn Victims House, BC Women’s Hospital Foundation, MPS Fun Run all in Vancouver, BC. In Edmonton, I volunteered for Western Canada Fashion Week, the Edmonton Humane Society “Pets in the Park” festival, Cancer Daffodil Day and in my hometown of Jasper, I volunteered for the “Tour of Alberta” Cycling Race organization, Red Cross Calgary Flood Relief Fundraiser, HIV West Yellowhead, “Free the Children,” “Go Girl” Conferences, Santa’s Anonymous, Jasper Rotary Club and Chamber of Commerce plus other events.
There are many different reasons for you too to start volunteering:
- To help others
- To learn about an activity or organization that interests you
- To gain perspective on life
- To beat boredom
- To overcome a hard time in your life or loss you have experienced.
There are so many opportunities to volunteer. The following list will give you lots of different ideas on how you can become a volunteer in your community.
- Homeless Shelters
If you live in a bigger city, then there is most likely a homeless shelter that helps homeless people with meals, beds and other services. Most homeless shelters welcome volunteers and have a variety of programs in which you can get involved. You might help prepare or meals even work behind the scenes.
- Habitat for Humanity: Habitat for Humanities builds and gives houses to lower income households in local communities. Volunteers not only help others, but can learn a great deal about building houses by getting involved. See the Habitat for Humanities web site for more information. Call the national office or your local office for information about volunteer programs in your area.
- City Programs: Most large cities offer a wide range of volunteer opportunities. Look in your local newspaper, online and call around to see what might be available where you live.
- Hospitals: Many hospitals have volunteer programs to help patients both inside and outside the hospital.The volunteers programs allow participants to explore medical careers and gain work experience. Contact local hospitals to learn more about opportunities in your area.
- Senior Citizens Centers: Many senior citizen centers offer volunteer programs to provide friendship and community activities to senior citizens. If you would like working with senior citizens, call a senior citizen center in your neighborhood and see what kinds of volunteer programs they have available.
- Animal Shelters:Many SPCA’s are non-profit or government organizations, and therefore they welcome volunteers to help take care of animals, keep facilities clean and work with the public. Call a local animal shelter for more information.
- Red Cross: The Red Cross helps people in emergencies – whether it’s half a million disaster victims or one sick child who needs blood. A local emergency in Western Canada was when there was a huge forest fire that devastated the town of Ft McMurray in 2016. Volunteer opportunities exist across the country. Contact your local Red Cross for more information.
- Salvation Army: The Salvation Army provides social services, rehabilitation centers, disaster services, worship opportunities, character building activities for all ages and character building groups and activities for all ages. Volunteer opportunities exist across the country
- Food Banks: Food banks often work with homeless shelters, but they also serve poor people living in the community (especially around the holidays). Food banks collect food, manage their inventory and distribute food to those in need.
Any food bank will offer similar opportunities in your area. Look in the phone book for a local food bank if you are interested.
Volunteering is so rewarding and even though everyone leads busy lives and may be working full-time as I am or studying or have other commitments, you won’t regret allowing yourself to find some time to help others. I’m certainly looking forward to volunteering and helping out with as many organizations as possible throughout my year as Miss BC World 2017!