Volunteering Benefits Everyone in Canada, especially Newcomers!
When I first came to Canada, everyone was talking about volunteering. Mostly all my friends recommended me to volunteer. But why? I didn’t understand what was so important about it. I used to do a lot of volunteering back home before coming to Canada, however, it was not as emphasized as much as here.
What is so important about volunteering?
Volunteering is so important in Canada as it gives you the opportunity to remain active and participate in society and give back to your community. It is so ingrained in Canadian society to “give back” that even high school students in Ontario cannot graduate unless they complete 40 hours of “community engagement” alongside 79% of Canadians actively volunteering every day in their communities. Yes! According to Statistics Canada, in 2018, 79% of Canadians over the age of 15 volunteered.
My Experience Volunteering
I decided to volunteer and asked my friends where I should start. They advised me to start volunteering in my kid’s school. So, I visited my son’s elementary school and applied to volunteer along with my application for a police check clearance, which is required for volunteering. I went there in the morning and helped kids to read with story books. I loved it and felt very happy to connect with the little kids and help them with their reading and get connected with the school community.
I also volunteered every Saturday to spend some time assisting in some sessions for the kids with special abilities. This was such a beautiful experience that made me aware of many things about Canadian culture.
Newcomers Benefit Greatly from Volunteering!
In Canada, you can include your volunteer experience on your resume and counts as that every valuable “Canadian work experience”. I certainly learned about Canadian workplace and organizational culture and developed some new skills when I volunteered! I also left with positive references from people I worked with, which I used when interviewing for jobs and they wanted some Canadian references.
Another of the many advantages of volunteering is that it will help you to improve your language skills and practice English. The best school for English is real life! It will also help you meet new people and expand your network which will make you feel more connected to your community and help you to more easily make new friends in your new home country.
Finally, volunteering will make you happy, the more you give the happier you will become. maybe that’s why a lot of Canadians volunteer! I encourage you to try it!
There are so many places to volunteer in Canada – often communities have a website dedicated to posting volunteer opportunities. Here in Halton Region, connect with www.cdhalton.ca or connect with a Settlement Information Specialist at the Centre.
“Volunteers don’t get paid, not because they’re worthless, but because they’re priceless.”