The value of volunteering, and how to get involved in your community.
In meeting newcomers to Canada, this is the advice they give me over and over again – “volunteer”.
Newcomers who engage with their communities through volunteering seem to settle and integrate faster than those who don’t volunteer.
Here are a number of reasons to volunteer:
- strengthens your ties to your community. It allows you to expand your social network, make connections with others and cultivate friendships which in turn,
- alleviates loneliness through,
- increases socialization. Social interactions improve mental and physical health and reduces your risk for depression and anxiety, because volunteering
- gives you the chance to make someone else’s life a little bit easier. While you’re making someone else’s life better, you are
- learning more about Canadian ways of doing things which helps you
- increase your self-esteem and self-worth. This reduces the stress of ‘not-knowing’ what you need to know, which in turn leads to
- better job prospects. When volunteering you meet others who can help you understand the Canadian job market, learn about the hidden job market, and gain ‘Canadian’ work experience. It also helps
- add new skill-sets to your resume.
- Most importantly, volunteering makes you realize that your efforts can change the life of someone else in your community.
Gain confidence, make a difference, meet people, make new friends, be a part of your community, learn new skills, and have fun. What can be wrong about that?
Public Library InterLINK is always looking for volunteers in the Fraser Valley and Greater Vancouver. These volunteers are called Library Champions . These Champions are newcomers who help other newcomers learn about the settlement services and resources available at libraries and other community agencies. If you have a love of libraries, this might be the perfect place for you to start. If you’d rather volunteer somewhere else, libraries are a good place to start your search for a volunteer position.