Where Can Volunteering Take You?

Today’s blog post is contributed by Angela Vincent, a volunteer at the Victoria General Hospital. Angie’s story is a great example of how someone can discover their passion while volunteering! Read on…

Hello everyone! For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Angie. I am a mother of two beautiful children: Keegan who is seven & Kenzie who is three! I would like to share a small story with you. It’s about my volunteer experience and where it has taken me – I think I should begin with how it all started.

Previously I worked in the retail industry for over eleven years. I enjoyed what I did but towards the end went through a difficult stage of feeling lost in life (a whole other story in itself :-)). I didn’t have any idea what I wanted to do or how to do something about not knowing what to do… if you catch my drift. At the time I remember my mom saying to me, “Try volunteering at a hospital, it’ll be good for you”. I have to admit, I felt nervous even thinking about doing so. Up until that point I had not spent much time in a hospital environment; let alone done any volunteering!

With that said, I bit the bullet and went for it. Before I knew it, I was in a “meet & greet” with Petra Slaughter, the Coordinator of Volunteer Resources at the Victoria General Hospital (VGH). Petra immediately took my nervousness down a notch. I told her exactly how I felt and that it was time I tried new things. Petra’s support and encouragement (not just for me, but for the entire volunteer team), was noticeably infectious. She wanted me to find my right fit just as much as I was hoping to find it – and so it began, I started off in the Medical Imaging Department as an on-call volunteer.

While waiting for a more permanent position (the waitlist was quite extensive and still exists to this day), I began volunteering in the office area with Petra; more so to pass time. Now if there is one thing I quickly realized: what you expect something to be like isn’t always how it turns out (Petra told me this once)… and how true! I found I really enjoyed the office area. Since starting in June 2010, I have worked my way from general office duties to conducting intakes with new volunteers and have since started training volunteer team leaders to conduct intakes themselves.

My time in the office has given me a great deal of satisfaction. I have the opportunity of meeting a variety of self-giving people all with different backgrounds and stories to share. It has been and still continues to this day, a magnificent learning opportunity and has provided me with a valuable skill set that in my eyes was nonexistent before.

Soon after, I realized my passion was with people and it was Petra who suggested I consider a career in Human Resources. After some research and digging around, here I am – currently a full-time student at Camosun College enrolled in the Advanced Diploma in Human Resources Management. I can honestly admit that my volunteer experience thus far, along with Petra’s mentorship, has given my life direction – who knows where I would find myself today if I chose not take my mom’s advice.

As I say to my son, ‘you are your own person’ – decisions are to be made; dreams are to be followed. Looking back… my time spent at VGH has been stepping stones to the big goal – a goal I never knew I had until volunteering! (Thanks Petra!)

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