My name is Rubaina and I am ecstatic to serve as the Chair of Change The World Markham CTWMarkham) for the 2019-2020 year. If you have not heard of CTWMarkham, we are a youth executive team under the Volunteer Markham. Basically, we handle all things volunteerism, from creating our own events, to promoting a wide variety of others’ in the community. More importantly, we want to make sure ALL youth in Markham are connected to meaningful opportunities and educated about community involvement. We are building our team now and we want YOU! (No experience necessary)
High school can be VERY overwhelming. Suddenly, you are supposed to be involved in extracurriculars, take on leadership roles and gain community hours, all while trying to maintain a social life, good mental health, and keep up with academics. I couldn’t believe it. This is why this blog is something I wish I had throughout my high school years.
This blog is a part of CTWMarkham’s newest initiative to bring forward meaningful opportunities and volunteer subjects for students to read about. If you are worried about any of those things above, this is a MUST READ blog for you.
I will be writing on this blog every month. As a Grade 12 student at Markville Secondary School, I can totally relate to many things you may be interested in. Feel free to reach out to me at any time to discuss anything on Facebook or Linkedin(just search my name).
My Message to You
If you are reading this and you know what you love and have a passion for making a change – great. If you have YET TO FIND that one thing that you really just LOVE doing, stay tuned! You might just find it here. My goal is to get you “volinspired”!
I was the latter. I always knew I wanted to do SOMETHING but I never knew what this was or how I could find it. Moreover, I was afraid to approach new opportunities and always underestimated my abilities.
The secret recipe to solving your “uninspiredness”? Trying new things. The minute you step out of your comfort zone and do something you’re afraid of, you begin to grow in ways you couldn’t imagine. Your opportunities start to grow as well.
Trying things is great; I myself participated in numerous clubs, volunteer events, and jobs. I didn’t like all of them, but at least I was gaining experience. Though you will not commit to everything you try, learn from each experience, build connections along the way, and then apply all these things to DO SOMETHING AMAZING. And trust me, you WILL find that thing.
Volunteering, specifically, is a truly unique and rewarding experience. Not only do you become a better person through learning how to help others, but you become a more well rounded and inquisitive learner. You can work, play sports, music, or study, but nothing compares to giving back to the community. Especially in a world where people are increasingly dialed in to their personal day-to-day, it is nice to step out of that bubble and help others. This is why I encourage you all to VOLUNTEER!
So, How Can You Start Volunteering?
My first time volunteering, in grade 9, began when I saw a posting on Facebook for a Halloween event “Spooktacular”. This was a short community event taking place closes by. I had no idea how volunteering worked, how I should go about it, and if I would be a good fit for the job.
However, I knew I needed to complete my community hours sooner or later! So, I grabbed a couple of friends, signed up, and before I knew it, I was having a blast setting up a haunted hours, face painting, and more! It was such a simple experience, but it gave me so much confidence. Not only did I learn to fill out that daunting volunteer form your high school guidance department gives you, but I met some great friends that I still talk to today. That one opportunity actually allowed me to gain a resume experience for future part time jobs and leadership opportunities.
Signing up for a small, short-term opportunity with your friends is an amazing way to ease into things and get your feet off the ground. I am still always on the lookout for any new opportunities, so do not be afraid to get out there and try new things – It is just a great learning experience, and tons of fun!
These are some suggestions to help you get started:
First Time Volunteers
- Volunteer Markham and CTWMarkham has tons of volunteer opportunities available on their database. As mentioned earlier, Volunteer Markham is completely dedicated to helping volunteers in Markham – so do not be afraid to direct any questions or concerns to them or to CTW. I totally wish I had known about this database earlier on. Just click on the tab above! (Or join me at CTW Markham!)
- MP, MPP, Election Campaigns are a great way to get started. Often, when the next election comes around (psttt, the current federal election campaign!) MP’s and MPP’s are searching for tons of volunteers to help them canvas. Do not hesitate to go onto their personal campaign websites by searching their name to sign up for volunteering. These application processes usually require nothing but some basic information.
- Community Events such as the Markham Expo, Taste of Asia, Fun fairs, Unionville Festival, Markham Fair and more. These are usually also single day events that you can easily sign up for with some friends. A simple visit to any community event’s website can help you find volunteer opportunities.
I Just Want to Jump In Now
- Change The World is looking for driven people to join our executive planning team, as well as volunteers for CTW events throughout the year. Message or email me and I will note you down as an interested volunteer.
- Food Drives and food centres are always on the lookout for volunteers, both for single days during peak seasons like winter, and on a weekly basis. Try checking out the websites of local and popular food banks to see volunteering opportunities. You could consider doing your own Food Drive for a worthy cause.
- Retirement Homes love teenagers who come in to spend some time in the homes. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience to work with the elderly. Check out the websites of the local Markham retirement homes to see if they need volunteers. If you have a skill or play an instrument, why not connect with them and share your skills.
Lastly, these are some extra opportunities and good links! Many of these organizations host great volunteer or community events. A great way to make sure you are not missing out is by staying connected through their social media.
Some of our event partners:
- TakingITGlobal: tgiweb.org
- New Step 4 U: https://newstep4u.com/
- The Giving Tree unionville: facebook.com/thegivingtreeunionville
Really great youth volunteer clubs to look into:
- YNA – Youth Nation Alliance: www.ynalliance.ca/
- MMYC – Markham Mayor’s Youth Council: www.markhamyouth.com
- MYC – Markham Youth Council: facebook.com/markhamyouthcouncil
- Project 5K: www.project5k.ca
- CTW Markham: facebook.com/changetheworldmarkham
In future posts, I will be discussing and promoting more specific opportunities and topics. Please feel free to message me with any specific volunteer ideas you have, requests for future blog posts, or highlighting some cool volunteering that’s going on in Markham and I would be more than happy to write about them. I look forward to helping you achieve your volunteering goals for the year.
Until next time,
Chair, Change the World Markham
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