A New Year’s Resolution Anyone?

Sarah Norton is a Journalism and Media Communications graduate from the University of Wollongong, Australia. After studying for a semester at the University of Victoria, Sarah fell in love with the place and has recently moved back. She has a great passion for travelling and making a difference through writing, and is excited about being part of the Volunteer Victoria, volunteer team. 

A New Year means a new you, and what better way to begin 2013 than to get involved with volunteering?

With all of the amazing volunteer opportunities Victoria has, sometimes finding the right one can be overwhelming and daunting, which is where Volunteer Victoria can help.

VolWeb is Volunteer Victoria’s volunteer database with a lot of wonderful opportunities to choose from. Initially created to encourage volunteerism and increase access to volunteer opportunities across Canada leading up to and beyond the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games, it’s now helping build a legacy that will benefit the community for years to come.

The website allows you to build a network with experienced and enthusiastic volunteers who contribute to the success of local events by connecting people with opportunities at special occasions, from major sporting events and conferences to local festivals, fundraisers and community celebrations. If you would like more information on posting your volunteer opportunities to VolWeb and the many other benefits of being a Volunteer Victoria Member Agency, please give us a call!

To help with your volunteer quest, the incredible Volunteer Victoria team has selected some standout positions and opportunities from the site that they see as valuable learning experiences, or as stepping-stones toward their goals.

Youth Volunteer Connections Program Coordinator, Julia-Anne says, “the staff walks the talk and truly believes in the volunteer experience.”

So here are some of the standout positions they chose:

Access Program Coordinator, Lornna Olson expresses her excitement about all of the great new opportunities coming up on the board! Her current recommendation is Seedy Saturday, which is happening in mid-February. It’s where people bring seeds to trade for other seeds. The event hosts people who are sorting, itemising, dividing and re-bagging seeds, which means they can always use volunteers.

“It’s a great day. I volunteer every year at the seed exchange,” she exclaims.

A great perk if you volunteer is free event entry.

“You can look at all the displays and watch the budding farm maidens flirt wildly with the strapping farm lads!” says Lornna. “For the last two years I’ve accompanied two different clients there for volunteer support. It’s just a safe, fun, and friendly place.”

Youth Support Worker, Julena Breel suggests three amazing volunteer opportunities if you a) love kids, b) love sports, or c) love to mix the two and throw in some camping as well. She highlights the ‘Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor’ opportunity as a must, “because I love kids.” Adding the ‘Special Olympics Victoria BC’ to her list, “because I love sports.” Finally promoting the ‘Easter Seals 24 Hour Relay’, “because sending kids to camp is pretty much my dream job and this is the most fun you’ll have volunteering,” she says.

Finally Julia-Anne tells me that she loves the posting about volunteering as a Fitness Coach for the Victoria Youth Custody Service. “It seems totally fun and hands on!” she says.

It’s an opportunity to coach young offenders in a youth facility on proper use of Universal Fitness Equipment. It’s a long-term commitment, asking for 90-minute sessions once a week for at least 6 months. Training is provided and you gain invaluable experience working with at-risk youth in a custody setting, plus the greatest reward is having a positive impact on a young person’s life.  

Upon perusing the large and diverse database I also came across some gems to share. It was hard to decide which opportunities to pick out because there are so many amazing options.

If you love hockey, then the Macquarie Rink of Dreams is a perfect opportunity offered by the Help Fill a Dream Foundation. It’s a 24-hour hockey event held on March 23rd and 24th at the Bear Mountain Arena. Anyone’s welcome, regardless of their skill level and there’s a Tailgate Party for the whole family afterward. There are 14 different positions available from guest services and event operations to set-up/take-down volunteers.

If learning and social justice are more your thing, the Social Justice Youth Conference are looking for event promotion volunteers. You’ll be responsible for event operations, marketing and PR, event coordination, fundraising, and set-up/take-down. It’s hosted by the Didi Society, inviting youth from across Greater Victoria to participate in a morning of skill-based workshops, followed by networking and sharing in the afternoon. The position requires communications tasks such as contacting the media, inviting guests, presenting at schools, and more. You’re rewarded with full-day conference entry, a Didi Society t-shirt, and invaluable mentorship.

If your passion lies with healthy living and you’re looking for an ongoing project, then Child Health Clinic Volunteering with Prevention Services (VIHA) may be just what you’re looking for. You greet and check in children and their families, complete paperwork, assist with weighing and recording client information, and refer to concerns and questions about children and their parents to the nurses.

Another great ongoing opportunity that will get your creative juices flowing and planning skills into action is with the fun-filled event, Creatively United for the Planet. They’re looking for pre-festival planning committee volunteers, willing to give four hours of their time each week leading up to the event. The opportunity asks for administration, event operations, marketing and PR, fundraising, data entry, and word processing. This is an all-ages art, cultural, and healthy living event to celebrate Earth Week. It raises funds for environmental-based charities, and creates awareness about calling to action for a positive change.

There is literally a volunteer position for everyone and Volunteer Victoria can help you find it, or even create it! So visit the VolWeb site, contact Volunteer Victoria, and start getting excited about all of the amazing ways you can contribute to the community this year! I’m definitely excited to keep writing about them.

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