Volunteering is a rewarding way to spend your time. Sure, it feels good to give back, but there are other hidden benefits. There is the obvious value in making sure people get the services they need, but there is also value in what you learn along the way. Read on to see what our volunteers have to say about what they’ve learned in their experience as volunteers.
Learning from Clients
There is always give and take in life. Volunteers offer a lot to the community, and they get a lot back in return. One of the first things that volunteers mention is how enriching it is to connect with people. Many volunteers are fortunate to learn from the people they volunteer for. There are so many eye-opening stories out there – from personal stories, to skills, to finding out about other cultures and eras. Volunteering provides the opportunity to learn directly from other people.
As volunteer Sarah G told us, “[Seniors] are the glue that brings the current time and the past together with so much knowledge.” There is much to learn if you are just willing to put yourself out there.
The Needs of Others
Volunteering is eye-opening in many ways. One volunteer learned the importance of not making assumptions about what people may need or know about. When she took a client to a medical appointment, she assumed he didn’t use text messaging. She then tried to describe where she would meet him afterward and he replied with, “Why don’t you just text me?” The volunteer had to take a moment to check herself and her assumptions about peoples’ technological capabilities.
Many volunteers have pointed out how important it is just to be a touch point for clients. Some people don’t have friends or family who regularly check in. There have even been instances where a grocery delivery volunteer has been the person to flag that something could be wrong. For example, one client needed help opening her medication, so she waited and waited until the grocery drop off to ask. In another case, a volunteer called to confirm a pick up time with a client, and couldn’t get through. This raised flags about the health and safety of the client, and things were put in place to have the client regularly checked in on.
Opportunity Is Out There
Quite a few volunteers had no idea just how many seniors live independently on the North Shore. Seeing the way that some people experience life can be eye opening – and there is no shortage of help we can offer. Not everybody has someone around to help with things like cleaning, changing lightbulbs, going to appointments, or getting food. Volunteers are the ones who make this possible in a system that just can’t keep up.
In the words of volunteer Ted D., “People are good.” It feels good to get out and help where you can. Learn more for yourself by signing up to volunteer. Visit seniors.nscr.ca.
Service Types: Seniors Support,