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Volunteering - If It Feels Good, Do It!


Now that January's out of the way - the bills are paid, my sanity's relatively intact, the gift wrap's finally put away - I'm ready to tackle one of my goals for the year, which is to take on some kind of volunteer work.

Now that January’s out of the way–the bills are paid, my sanity’s relatively intact, the gift wrap’s finally put away–I’m ready to tackle one of my goals for the year, which is to take on some kind of volunteer work.

While I’ve always felt that volunteering was a noble thing to do, I’ve never really considered it until recently. The thing is, I live a safe, well-fed, comfortable existence that many people in Canada, let alone the rest of the world, would dream of having. So nothing was stopping me from sharing some of my good fortune with others. But the sneaky reason that I didn’t look into volunteer opportunities sooner was that I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself. I wasn’t sure that I had any skills that could be useful, or that I could be the altruistic, serene, and giving person I had imagined all volunteers to be.

Luckily, I see more clearly now, and I recognize that volunteers are just ordinary people from all walks of life who share a desire to help others, to give back to their communities, and to use their skills and talents in ways that are meaningful to them. Amazingly, I am one of those people! I now understand that volunteer work isn’t about giving up endless hours to do something you hate; it’s about making a commitment that’s as big or as small as you can handle–even if that’s just helping out at a local event for one day.

My only problem was figuring out where to begin. I wanted to find something that suited my skills and aptitudes, but would be challenging enough to keep me coming back for more. After all, if I’m going to do something, I want to be able to commit to it and be dependable.

My first stop was the website for Volunteer Canada ( There I took a quiz to help me determine what kind of volunteer work might be right for me. Turns out I’m primarily a “connector” and an “experience-seeker,” so I should look for opportunities that enable me to work closely with others and introduce me to new places, people, and ideas. Next up, I found a series of questions that got me to explore my ideals and beliefs. By thinking about what’s really important to me, I’ll be able to find something that’s in line with my values.

From there, I started looking at some listings in my area. It turns out I’m spoiled for choice: reader, gallery guide, craft assistant, library helper–these things don’t sound like work at all!
So for now, I’m in the process of narrowing down my options. I look forward to finding the right fit for me, and when I do, I’ll be sharing it with you. In the meantime, why not take up the volunteering challenge yourself?



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Leah PayneLeah Payne