Volunteers- a big thanks for all you do! #NVW2016 thumbnail

April 15th, 2016

Volunteers- a big thanks for all you do! #NVW2016

As  National Volunteer Week comes to an end, the appreciation we feel for our volunteers is endless.

volunteers nvaw-2016-volunteer

Organizations like ours really thrive on giving and caring people. Without your inspiring drive to help others, our community wouldn’t be nearly as rich as it is.

Brittany Buko, a Laurier student who volunteers with our Waterloo Open Space, had this to say about her experience:

“Volunteering at Open Space every Wednesday has honestly become the highlight of my week these past three months. I look forward every week to laughing, talking, and playing games with all of the other individuals who attend. I absolutely love how much of a community we have all created with Open Space. It is a welcoming and inclusive environment that makes even new-comers feel like they have known everyone for years. We have so much fun catching up every week, getting to know new faces, and being slightly competitive in the games that we play.

I began volunteering with Extend-A-Family Waterloo Region as a mandatory component for a course, but now I cannot wait to continue being apart of this community, long after my course ends!”

Another Laurier social work student, and a frequenter of Open Space, Victoria Coon wrote about how volunteering connected with her schooling:

“The ‘Helper theory principle’ stood out to me in my community psychology course at Laurier. Helper theory is the idea that “providing aid to others promotes one’s own well-being” (Kloos et al., 2012, p. 277), and at Open Space, I’ve realized how true this concept is for me. Open Space is a perfect break from the stress of school and work, and each week I look forward to spending time with people from my community who I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to meet. Open Space has become a highlight of my week, and although my placement is now over, I am going to continue to attend!”

Our great folks down at W.A.L.E.S. are constantly in contact with volunteers and students. Bonnie Pelling, a volunteer, shared her first day with the group:

“Volunteering at WALES Group has been a wonderful learning, sharing and relationship building experience for me and I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this group.

After the first time I went to WALES Group to volunteer I knew this was an amazing place to connect with many individuals and build strong lasting relationships. Not only are the staff easy to work with and very caring and friendly, but so are the individuals that come to WALES Group.

I will always remember my first day at WALES Group. I was nervous the first day I went there, arriving early as I always do. I would rather be early than late for anything that I do. I was greeted by a very friendly smiling face and was directed to where I could wait for Angela, the staff person that I was to meet. As people came in, I smiled and said hello and a friendly hello was given in return, and in some cases a high-five. When everyone gathered for attendance and I was formally introduced, I again received numerous hellos and more high-fives. We were all told the plans for the day had changed due to the rain and the staff’s need to complete some very important paperwork. I jumped right in willing to help with whatever was needed so that the staff could accomplish their tasks.

That morning I assisted a group playing cards and made small conversation. I told about my parent’s dog (Kandy) riding with me on my golf cart and how sometimes Kandy would jump off and run just far enough ahead of me so that I could still see her. Then when the rain let up I helped an individual in a wheelchair to Tim Hortons for a coffee. We chatted and got to know each other better during the walk there and back. I made her laugh when, unknown to me, the wheelchair hit the trigger for the drive-through and we heard “welcome to Tim Hortons. May I take your order”. We still laugh about that today. I believe friendships were started that first day and those friendships continue to grow even now.

Since that first day, I have gone with individuals to the Mayor’s breakfast at Thanksgiving, to bowling and games club, listened to stories and music, assisted with planning each month, assisted with putting on and doing up coats and drying dishes. During all these activities I have gotten to know these people better and feel my life is richer for having the opportunity to get to know them. I see only their abilities and potential as they tell me about the things they have done in the community or about the jobs they have.

I look forward to my time at WALES Group each week. On weeks that I have not been there I am always asked where I was and told that I was missed.”

Learn more about National Volunteer Week and how Canada is a leader in volunteerism. With more than 12.7 million volunteers coast to coast, #NVW2016 may be a week long event, but the appreciation for volunteers is endless.

Thank you. You inspire us.