The new school year is upon us. For some procrastinating high school seniors, this is their last chance to get their mandatory 40 hours of community service. But wait, volunteering isn’t just for students anymore – it’s also for anyone who wants to make good use of their spare time.
No matter what is compelling you to volunteer your time, there is a not-so-secret but often-overlooked way of getting around the sometimes unappealing idea of working for free. The solution is simple: volunteer in avenues where the experiences you have and the people you meet will benefit you in your future endeavours. A little bit of sacrifice now could mean a reference down the line, another notch on your resume, or even the opportunity to be hired on – for pay!
The good news is that Hamilton is always in need of enthusiastic helpers, and there are plenty of organizations and charities that would be happy to take you in.
If you want to have experience working with animals, than consider organizations like The Equestrian Association for the Disabled (TEAD), the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA), or Friends of the Aviary. You can spend your time caring for horses, dogs, cats, bunnies, and even exotic birds.
If you’d like to be more be more active and practice your athletic skills then consider Start 2 Finish. They offer the Running and Reading Club, a 32-week after-school program that, as described on their website, “effectively addresses the need for enhanced literacy and physical activity among economically challenged children.”
Perhaps you dream of working in the health services industry. Volunteering as a receptionist in a hospital is a good way to get a sense of what your potential work environment will be like – and it’s also a good way to meet your future colleagues. AbleLiving Services also accepts volunteers. In volunteering with them, you can help provide support to adults who have physical or intellectual disabilities.
Artistic activities can be a fantastic outlet to creatively express your energy and emotions. Try volunteering in places where you’ll be able to meet other artistic people. The Great Big Theatre Company is opening their door to sewers and seamstresses who want to help out with costumes for their upcoming productions.
If a career in education is in your future, it would be a good idea to learn the ins and outs of working with children. It can be more challenging then one would assume, and it is perhaps for this reason that most elementary and middle schools accept student volunteers to help around the classroom. Check with your alma mater and see if they need any help. Or, consider volunteering with the Boys and Girls Clubs of Hamilton, which offer a wide variety of programs for youth.
There is something for everyone here. With all the opportunities available to you, you are bound to find a volunteer position that will not only benefit you, but the city of Hamilton. To learn more about the places you can volunteer, visit Volunteer Hamilton at volunteerhamilton.on.ca. They offer listings from over 160 non-for-profit agencies.