I don’t know about you, but I love volunteering. My mother started me off when I was a kid at the local Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB). I ended up volunteering at the CNIB for many years. It was a treatment centre and residence for children in their teens or 20s who were blind and developmentally handicapped.
I did many different jobs at the CNIB, such as, the pet corner where I would teach the children how to look after animals. A few wanted to get a cat and I’d help them with that. For a year, I travelled from one guy’s house to the SPCA (animal shelter) where he played with the cats while I supervised. I also was involved with some fund raising events.
No matter where I was, I would find somewhere to volunteer. While in university, I helped a blind woman with her classes mostly by reading her books and lessons so she could type them in Braille. I kept in touch with her for many years and was there when she received her guide dog. She never stopped smiling and it was beautiful to see her walk with her head held high.
When I moved to Brantford, and since I knew no one here, I thought it would be best for me to find some volunteer jobs. I signed up first with the Brantford General Hospital. I work in the emergency waiting room which is a lot of fun because it always changes. You’ll never know who you are going to meet and what will happen that day.
I also joined the volunteer team at the Grand River Community Health Centre. My first job was to interview all the volunteers and write their profiles. I enjoyed that so much and it also encouraged me to write. When I finished the 45 profiles, my new job became taking pictures of events and programs at the centre. I love taking photos so I’m loving this job. I also recently spent 7 hours compiling surveys for a staff member.
When I have a free afternoon, I go to the SPCA to hug the cats. I don’t want another cat (had to put down my 20 year old cat last year) but I do enjoy them so it’s fun to play with them. I definitely don’t look at the dogs. I don’t want any reason to get another. When Kira dies, I want to be free for a few years.
Volunteering is very important to me because it gets me out of the house. An author’s life is a lonely one since you work at home alone. I need a reason to be around people. Also, since I’m still new to Brantford, I need to meet the community.
But, of course, that satisfaction you receive when you’ve done something positive with your day is always a great feeling. My work is appreciated and many people say ‘thank you’ when I’ve helped them, which is always nice to hear.
We have to give more of ourselves to our community, making it a better place to live. What’s great about volunteering is you can volunteer anywhere and do anything that interests you. Also for young people, volunteering is essential to learn new skills and improve their abilities. I volunteered many places when I was without a job and sometimes those opportunities turned into paid work.
So, I encourage you to volunteer, if it’s possible. I know many people are very busy with their lives but, if you have the time, you should try it.