Is volunteering a waste of time?




Facilitator’s corner

Volunteer Appreciation Lunch 

CCI – Catholic Centre for Immigrants

If you never volunteered your time, there are at least 3 reasons, you may want to consider volunteering:

  1. learning new skills
  2. opening a new business  
  3. growing circle of friends and networks

All those take time but are life-changing.

Do you think that volunteering is a waste of time?

Some people prefer to spend time in their living room watching TV. I must say, I have done my share. Until one day when my father became ill and spent almost 2 years between the hospitals and nursing homes. Life is more difficult when a person is older and not well, but it becomes miserable if, on top of that, a person has to deal with a language barrier. In my 30 years as a visual artist and an immigrant, I observed that many people live with different levels of integration when it comes to language.

Most of Care Organizations, like hospitals, nursing homes or even police department, use resources that don’t contain graphics. That creates many problems, especially for the older population.

I decided that I will change that, but how? I am a visual artist, there is no integration in my resume. That is why I decided to find a place where I can volunteer and give my time and skills to people who can benefit from both. This happened to be the Catholic Centre for Immigrants. Working for the past 2 years with immigrant seniors who are CCI clients, I have learned new skills, I discovered new ideas for my business. I  gained a lot of new friends within the CCI employees, other volunteers and seniors, who I visit weekly for an English conversation circle.

When to consider volunteering? 

If you have a wish list that looks like this: 

  1. learning new skills
  2. opening a new business
  3. growing circle of friends and networks

How to make sure you find the right fit for your volunteer work?

how to make sure you will not get tired and quit, or that it will help you achieve your goals?

1- Make sure that the skills you will be learning are going to complement the skills you already have, so you don’t feel bored.

2- Have a vision for your new business or a goal that you want to achieve before you start volunteering.  When you have a personal goal, it will keep you going even if you feel tired.

3- Be open to possibilities and opportunities of getting to know the people you are spending your time with while volunteering. They are your best teachers while you are theirs. The friendship and network of people that will grow around you are priceless.