What first inspired you to volunteer?
Honestly, I started volunteering only to complete the required hours for school, but I quickly realized that there was more to it than that. Volunteering has become something I enjoy and I like being able to say that I'm not just volunteering for school hours. The benefits of volunteering are tremendous, especially for a young high school student like myself.
Which cause are you most passionate about and why?
Education is one cause that I feel very passionate about because it is something that both myself and others have taken for granted. We as a society often forget that there are others who don't have the same opportunities as those in more economically developed countries. Education provides a platform for students that allows them to reach new places and gain new opportunities, and it's unfair that some people are denied this.
Which organization do you most commonly volunteer for?
I volunteer the most at Cottonwoods Care Centre as a Candy Striper.
What does a typical volunteer shift look like for this organization?
During a shift, I deliver water to the residents. I chat and spend time with them, which has resulted in bonds and friendly relationships with a couple of residents there. I help out the nurses if I can with small jobs and favours. It is a very friendly and flexible environment which teaches me about responsibility and I appreciate that. I get to meet and interact with interesting people that I normally wouldn't have the opportunity to. Life inside an assisted living facility is quite different, which was an eye-opener to me.
What impact have you seen volunteers make in the community?
Volunteering is a way for people to feel good about themselves. I have found that volunteers are generally very kind and positive people. This goes a long way in the community, because those who volunteer tend to spread their kindness and positivity to others around them, whether they are actively volunteering or not. A little commitment from volunteers can go a long way into helping those in need and creating a brighter future for those around us.
What is the most memorable moment or experience you've had while volunteering?
My best volunteering memories are from when I helped organize OKM's Car Smash for Fort McMurray. I was working with a great bunch of people, and we had tons of fun leading up to the event. On the day of our fundraising event, we rolled an Oldsmobile onto the back field and charged students to smash it to raise money for the families in Fort McMurray. The best part was when I got to destroy the side windows with a crowbar. Smashing an old car to smithereens felt awesome, and I highly recommend it as a stress reliever!
What support does your organization currently need, and how can people learn more or get involved?
I have volunteered for many organizations, yet all of them need one thing in common... More volunteers! There are very few organizations out there who can honestly say that they have more than enough volunteers; they are always on the lookout for bright and friendly people. The best way to get involved is to get online. I found that simply going onto the organization's website or checking out their profile on Volinspire will give me enough information to contact an organizer.
Is there anyone else you would like to recognize that has helped support you to make a difference?
Cottonwoods Care Centre and the Interior Health. I have given me the experience of working at a care facility, and volunteering there has helped open my eyes to new possibilities. I also want to say thank you to Volinspire and Interior Savings, because their help and support is what made the OKM Car Smash possible. Special shout out to my fellow Volinspire Amassadors - Madelyn Miyashita, Emma Van Demark, Kristian Oppenheim, Andrew Kates, Natalie Waynert. They helped raise over $7,000 from our event to support the Canadian Red Cross!