Kristian Oppenheim, Thanks for Doing Some Good!
What first inspired you to volunteer?
I have grown up with the mentality that 'the more you give, the more you have'. The concept of community members investing themselves into a good cause with nothing in return but self-fulfillment makes me feel proud of my community. I wanted to be a part of this supportive movement of volunteering and potentially inspire others to take part as well. Throughout my life, the community has provided me with many opportunities and chances that are absolutely invaluable. Through volunteering I can start giving back to my community and contribute to starting a new generation of volunteers.
Which cause are you most passionate about and why?
I am most passionate about the rehabillitation of damaged areas. Natural disasters such as droughts, floods, tsunamis, fires, earthquakes etc. have devastated millions of people. I believe that helping others in a time of need brings people closer together. Whether it is supporting those affected by the tsunami in Japan or the fire in Fort MacMurray, people are drawn together by supporting the same cause. I feel safer knowing that if anything were to happen to my community, there would be others to help support us in our time of need.
Which organization do you most commonly volunteer for?
I most commonly volunteer for the Canadian Red Cross. My favorite way to volunteer is to organize or take part in fundraising events. I trust the Red Cross to handle the money raised responsibly and deliver it with care. I am inspired and motivated by the events created through the Red Cross and the stories that are told of people who are helping. I feel honoured every time I support this foundation. Hearing about stories and events involving Red Cross truly make me believe that the more you give the more you have.
What does a typical volunteer shift look like for this organization?
Volunteer shifts (regarding fundraising) for the Red Cross are unique. They begin with becoming passionate about a cause, coming up with a fundraising idea and creating a team to support the cause with you. Regardless of the amount of money raised, people in need know they are being supported and community members are brought closer together. Red Cross also provides opportunities to travel and directly help those in need.
What impact have you seen volunteers make in the community?
Volunteers in my community have inspired those around them to become better community members and have forged a sense of unity. For example, the loyal volunteers at the local Central Okanagan Community Food Bank invest their time to help those in need, which creates a uniting bond between them and the rest of the community. Those who see this process, or take part in it, become incredibly moved and inspired by the positive, giving atmosphere. This, in turn, inspires those involved to spread the atmosphere around the community. This is one of many scenarios where volunteers have positively impacted and inspired the community.
What is the most memorable moment or experience you've had while volunteering?
During the OKM CAR SMASH fundraiser for Fort MacMurray (a Red Cross fundraiser supported by Interior Savings), I noticed a change in the atmosphere of our school. My peers were excited to arrive at school, positive conversations about the event happened everywhere and everyone wanted to support the cause together. The moment when I realized that my volunteering efforts effectively increased my schools spirit was my favorite volunteering moment.
What support does your organization currently need, and how can people learn more or get involved?
The organizations I support the most are Red Cross and the Food Bank. Both of these organizations rely heavily on volunteers. Thus, the best form of support for both of them is to have more volunteers get involved with them. They both have profiles on Volinspire and websites that emphasize their goals and importance and how you can get involved. I believe that the way to get more people involved is to have existing volunteers spread their experiences around the community and advertise how to get involved during community events.
Is there anyone else you would like to recognize that has helped support you to make a difference?
I would like to nominate Madelyn Miyashita for a volunteer spotlight.