Photo Credit: Unknown volunteer from another university
Photographed: Alternative Spring Break group, February 2018
The act of volunteering is not a one-sided benefit, but rather a mutually beneficial opportunity and experience for both parties involved. In the following short essay, I will demonstrate how I have developed a mutually beneficial opportunity and experience from volunteering by acquiring superior leadership capabilities, enhanced communication skills, a professional persona, and heightened emotional intelligence, while simultaneously bettering the community.
In 2016, I began volunteering with St. Joseph’s Hospice, where I would organize meals for terminally ill patients. During this role, I would accommodate to unique meal requests for patients while upholding a professional persona. The atmosphere at St. Joseph’s Hospice needs to be comforting because families are going through very difficult and emotional times in caring for their terminally ill family member. As a result, I gained exceptional emotional intelligence and accurately regulated how I interacted with patients and guests. My next volunteer role began during the summer of 2017 when I secured a position with Meals on Wheels. I would provide meal deliveries for patients who have disabilities or illnesses that prevent them from accessing transit resources for food needs. The kindness I received on each delivery and the friendly chats at the doorstep of the client’s place of residence made this role such a rewarding experience. I knew that I was making a significant positive impact on their lives while furthering my emotional intelligence and verbal development after each delivery. In February of 2018 during reading week, myself and thirty other Western University students partnered with Habitat for Humanity in New Orleans, Louisiana for seven days to build homes for families who were disadvantaged. We split into two teams of fifteen and successfully constructed the flooring and wall frames, as well as building the roof structure on two houses for deserving families. My time in New Orleans was an eye-opener. I experienced internal growth and empathy for community members who face systemic barriers, while also gaining valuable leadership experience and building my communication skills during the construction stages.
I began my role with LUSO Community Services in January of 2018, where I volunteered in Family Math as one of the facilitators. Watching students grasp new concepts and mathematical methods while being rewarded with toys and congratulated by their family was mutually beneficial for both myself and the participants. In the same month, I also started my volunteering journey with Junior Achievement where I taught two programs: “Dollars with Sense,” which is offered to Grade 7 students, and “Economics for Success,” which is offered to Grade 8 students. As a class instructor for Junior Achievement, I would communicate clear and concise information regarding business fundamentals and activity instructions to students in order to facilitate and lead an enjoyable and intellectually stimulating environment. My experience with LUSO and Junior Achievement has fostered in me unique leadership qualities that I previously never knew I possessed. Truly, these were places where I was able to reach my full potential in defining my own leadership capability.
In conclusion, I am very proud to say that I have developed exceptional leadership and communication skills, a professional persona, and emotional intelligence while assisting terminally ill and disabled individuals, fostering intellectual development for elementary school students, and helping disadvantaged families reach their housing needs, which has supported my claim that volunteerism results is a mutually beneficial opportunity and experience. I encourage anyone who desires to build their professional portfolio and competitiveness in future endeavours to participate in volunteering because you are not only bettering the community, you are also bettering yourself.
The second semester King’s Volunteer Fair will be on January 22-24 from 11am-3pm. Please feel free to come visit the highly diverse volunteer agencies in the Student Life Centre to turn a potential mutually beneficial opportunity into a reality.