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How young people can help their community during the pandemic

Posted on Monday June 29, 2020


How young people can help their community during the pandemic

With the warm weather finally here, are you bursting with energy and ready to hop to it? But you’re staring at three months’ worth of blank pages in your agenda and wondering how to turn all that time into a rewarding experience? Do something both fun and helpful—get involved in your community!

Read on to find out how to get involved. The experience could change your life.

Be part of a practical solution to real problems

Have you felt a change in the air? People are making masks, beauty products, and candles; delivering groceries to vulnerable people; and sharing hopeful music and funny videos. Regardless of what form their generosity takes, it’s clear that the current situation has changed a lot of people’s perceptions about what really matters.

But how can we turn that desire for change into concrete actions? Helping others and donating your time is a great way to support your community.

There are lots of reasons to get involved:

  • Be a source of positive change and live your values
  • Join the ranks of people who are working to make things better
  • Make a real difference in your community
  • Focus on your personal growth by helping others

Numerous studies have shown that volunteering has all kinds of mental and physical benefits. It’s a win-win situation, so what are you waiting for?

I want to get involved but don’t know where to start

Whether you’re interested in hearing about the social revolution of the sixties from people who lived through it or talking to kids about what Santa’s workshop might look like, there’s a volunteer opportunity out there for you. Thinking about your strengths will help you choose the type of activity that’s right for you.

Many organizations such as the Red Cross let you choose what type of volunteer role you’d like to take on according to your interests and skills. Options include first aid, home care, homework help, child care or environmental help, and even virtual volunteering. Another excellent resource is the Volunteer Canada website, which has hundreds of volunteer opportunities.

There are so many reasons to give your time:

  • Improve your self esteem
  • Create a social network       
  • Gain experience in a more flexible environment than the job market
  • Use your skills and talents to help others
  • Feel like you’re part of a group
  • Be part of a project that benefits the community
  • Learn a new language
  • Improve your social and communication skills
  • And of course, have fun!

Welcome newcomers

What if you could travel the world without ever leaving your city? One area where young people really shine is helping immigrants integrate into their new community. Volunteer at CAFi in Moncton and make a difference in the lives of new immigrants. You’ll meet people with rich cultures from diverse backgrounds, hear exciting stories, and learn about the wider world.

Gain recognized work experience

Volunteering is excellent preparation for the job market

Many university and college programs require you to complete an internship to graduate. Why not take advantage of a government income support program (such as the CERB or CESB) and do an unpaid internship this summer? Volunteering at a company, organization, or association will help you gain valuable work experience that could boost your career. And who knows, maybe you’ll be offered a job at the end of it!

An internship will help you:

  • Be more prepared for the demands of the job world
  • Finish your studies
  • Get added experience you can include on your résumé
  • Expand your work network

A federal scholarship for volunteering

It’s a win-win situation. To encourage students to get involved in the response to COVID-19, the federal government is launching a new national volunteer initiative. The goal is to recognize the important contributions students make during the pandemic. The government will also provide financial support through the new Canada Student Service Grant. The grant will provide postsecondary students up to $5,000 to pay their tuition fees this fall.

More information will be available on the “I want to help” platform in the coming weeks.

To get the most out of your volunteer activities, combine them with a seasonal job or paid internship. This summer promises to be full of community involvement, rewarding encounters, and great accomplishments— even at two metres apart!

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