If you’re new to a neighbourhood, want to meet people, or feel like you need to make a positive impact in the world, you don’t have to do anything huge! Just look up local organizations in your area you think are doing good for the community and give them a valuable donation of your time and enthusiasm. Many Feathers Co-op is functional only because we have dedicated volunteers that make our projects happen. Here are 5 reasons to volunteer in your community:
1. It brings people together
There is a lot we can learn from others, and volunteering allows you to work as equals with people from diverse backgrounds towards a common goal. Working with other people on a common goal outside of work, school, or your circle of friends helps you get an understanding of different perspectives. You can make long lasting friendships and meet others who share the same interests, and passions as you!
2. Make a direct difference
There are many social and environmental issues that need time and resources: in your community, your city, your country, and in the world. It is also easy to feel overwhelmed and lost when wanting to make a difference. Realizing that your time is a very valuable contribution is empowering. Finding a cause, an effort, or a few that really resonate with your values, and seeking out organizations that are working on them is a good start to making a difference.
3. Learn new professional skills
Did you know that adding volunteer experience to your resume will benefit you? It is a way to demonstrate experience in professional roles as well. Especially if you lack work experience, volunteer experience shows initiative and commitment. Volunteers develop leadership, time management, and teamwork skills through working on projects.
Volunteering opens up opportunities to network within the community, and to develop professional relationships with people that can mentor you. It can give you references that can be just as valuable as work references, volunteering demonstrates a unique and productive use of your time which is valuable to potential employers (if that’s how you’ll spend your free time, they can grasp how you’ll spend your time as a staff member).
4. Make an investment in your community
Your community is your home. The contributions of volunteers have a direct impact on community programs, events, and services. In a suburban community it is easy to feel disconnected because a lot of people commute, or travel elsewhere for work or school. It is easier to identify and engage in city events. However, investing in your community directly helps to create space to meet people, hang out, and have fun close to home.
Many Feathers has our weekly farmer's market at Lisgar Go Station that attracts up to 1000 people every Sunday. We see familiar faces, listen to local musicians, talk to our neighbours, and have a fun place to go to socialize and support the local economy. A lot of our vendors are from the community too, and an event like the market, supported by volunteers helps create jobs, where before, there was just an empty parking lot.
Our community garden project is a space for our volunteers from the community to learn new skills, grow food to donate and directly support those in need; where before it was just just a plot of grass on commercial space.
Both of our projects support community engagement by the residents of Lisgar/Meadowvale and promote people to invest in the community that they live in.
5. Personal growth
Volunteerism can help you discover hidden talents that build confidence and self-worth. It creates a support network through the relationships that you form. Volunteering is a way to practice what you preach, to make a contribution that aligns with your beliefs. It helps you practice empathy, focus on issues greater than your day-to-day life, and provides meaning. At the end of the day, volunteering does not generate a capital return unless you pursue a job at a non-profit, however, it provides a great social return. You feel good about yourself.
Teamwork makes the dream work, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to join us!