“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi
I realized from a pretty young age that volunteers truly make the world go round. Growing up, I observed my Mom helping out in numerous ways in our community – starting a lunch program at my elementary school, spending countless hours volunteering at our community centre, and managing the hockey team that my sister and I played on for many years. I admired her motivation to want to improve our lives and the community we lived in. It’s not hard to see why my sister and I felt inspired to volunteer in our own communities.
When I moved to Downtown Vancouver four years ago, I saw an opportunity to give back to my community in a meaningful way. I love my community – it is so diverse – and rather than complain about the issue of homelessness, I wanted to be part of the solution. I am inspired by those I volunteer with at Salvation Army Belkin House – some have been volunteering for many years, some volunteer for several days a week, and some used to be patrons of the facility themselves – each with their own stories about why they want to give back. It is my fellow volunteers who have made me realize that volunteering isn’t about “serving humanity”, but rather it’s about connecting with humanity – and also having some fun while we’re at it!
I have learned that volunteering simply requires you to give a little of yourself in exchange for receiving so much more – feeling a sense of pride, developing new skills, building empathy, and making new friends. These are the reasons I continue to volunteer in my community.
On May 31, TELUS team members across the country will be giving back to their communities at TELUS Day of Giving. I hope my story inspires others to give where they live and consider making volunteering a regular part of their lives.