5 Things to Consider Before Volunteering

A group of friends take a selfie while volunteering.
Finding the volunteer position that’s right for you is essential. Volunteer Markham makes it easy!

Volunteering for the first time can be a difficult. While there are many volunteer opportunities available, choosing the right opportunity is one of the initial challenges faced by every volunteer. Of course, finding a volunteer position can be as simple as browsing available positions the Volunteer Markham website. However, first-time volunteers should consider a few things before embarking on this exciting path. Here are five things every aspiring volunteer should consider before submitting an application.

Why am I volunteering?

Everyone has their own reasons for volunteering. Whether you are a high school student looking to fulfil 40 hours of community service or a retiree looking for meaningful ways to spend time. There’s no wrong reasoning for why someone should volunteer. When you identify why you want to volunteer, then you will be able to set more solid volunteering goals.

Setting goals for volunteering will help you narrow down which volunteer opportunities you want to pursue. Some examples of goals can include: making new friends, learning a language or developing new and desired skills. Target your volunteer search around opportunities which can help move you towards your goals.

What are my strengths and weaknesses?

Consider your level of comfort when interacting with others. Do you enjoy working with other people? Or are you more of a solo player? Understanding your own personality is important when deciding which volunteer opportunities to apply for. An extravert might be great at giving information and greeting guests, while an introvert might be more suited for organizing and setting up venues.

At the same time, volunteering is a great way for you to build confidence and step out of your comfort zones. Volunteering often provides a low-stress environment to improve on your personal weaknesses. Take advantage of these opportunities!

How much time do I have?

A person who works a full-time job and a student who is relaxing in front of the TV during summer vacation drastically differ in the amount of free time they have. Consider your current situation. Are you a student? Does your job take up most of your time? Do you have preexisting family commitments? Some volunteer opportunities require scheduled commitments – whether that be once a week or month. For those of you more strapped for time, consider volunteering for specific events which don’t require commitment after the event’s conclusion.

Will this experience help me in the future?

While volunteering may seem all about giving, there are many ways in which you can benefit from contributing your time. While volunteers shouldn’t expect to receive tangible things as rewards, giving back to your community could be a great way to opening more doors in the future.

For example, an aspiring social worker may spend some time volunteering at a food bank. This volunteer will be getting firsthand experience in their desired field. It will also be a great opportunity for the volunteer to network with people in the social work industry. The volunteer may also be able to get a reference letter from the supervisor if their work is exceptional. Make sure to clearly ask if your volunteer supervisor or company is comfortable with providing reference letters for their volunteers. Don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure! 

What causes are important to you?

Knowing this could drastically make your quest to volunteering a lot simpler. Think about what you are passionate about – chances are there is an organization out there who fits your target. When your work actively helps something you are passionate about, it will make the task seem a lot more rewarding (and enjoyable).  

Take some time to consider these ideas before volunteering. When you are ready, feel free to check out the current volunteer opportunities by clicking here. There are volunteer opportunities out there for everyone.

Happy volunteering!

Volunteers Needed: What’s New!

Are you looking to make a difference, an impact, a positive change in your community? Support local organizations by volunteering your time and skills. Simply look at all the volunteer opportunities available currently on our database or click on “What’s New” for recent opportunities. To learn about the following new volunteer opportunities listed just click on the links. Don’t forget to create a profile and we will update you directly!


Volunteering for impact at the Ontario Trillium Foundation. OTF volunteers help build healthy and vibrant communities throughout Ontario. 

OTF volunteers review and recommend projects for funding in Ontario’s communities. Over 200 volunteers bring diverse perspectives and knowledge from regions across the province. As public appointees, OTF volunteers are stewards of public funds and work to ensure a broad range of perspectives are represented in the 16 Grant Review Teams that inform grant-making decisions.


Thornhill Seniors Wellness Program/CHATS Volunteers are required to pick up seniors in the Thornhill area and bring them to a social/wellness program at the Thornhill Seniors Center. 2 Tuesdays/month!


Wheels of Hope Drivers needed for the Canadian Cancer Society. Adult volunteers in great need (18 years+) with your own car.

5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer in 2020

With the holiday spirit still lingering in the air, 2020 is shaping up to be a perfect year for volunteering. Perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to make more friends, help others, or get more involved in the community. Volunteering is the perfect opportunity for you to stick to those resolutions.

With the holiday spirit still lingering in the air, 2020 is shaping up to be a perfect year for volunteering. Perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to make more friends, help others, or get more involved in the community. Volunteering is the perfect opportunity for you to stick to those resolutions.

Let’s take a look at some common New Year’s resolutions, and how volunteering can help you achieve them.

I want to make more friends

Volunteering is one of the best ways to make new friends and build connections. Working together with other volunteers allows you to bond over a shared experience. As a volunteer, you will be working with other volunteers who may share your similar interests and aspirations. For those who are new to Markham, volunteering is a great way to introduce yourself to the community and meet new people.

I want to be more confident

As a volunteer who is positively impacting the Markham community, it’s natural to feel a sense of accomplishment. Volunteers may gain a sense of pride and boosted self-esteem after a rewarding day of helping others. By making yourself available to volunteer opportunities, you are making it known that you want to be a helpful member of the community. This increased sense of confidence will surely help you for your future goals in 2020 and beyond!

I want to get healthier

Modern society has resulted in more people moving less. Whether you are working at a desk all day or studying at the library, people have generally become less active. While not all volunteer positions are physically demanding, the extra steps or tasks might just be what you need to get moving again. Older adults who find themselves moving less would greatly benefit from volunteering (although volunteering is right for any age).

I want a better job

It seems like we live in a world where even entry-level positions require previous experience. Those looking to break into a new or different career field should consider volunteering in order to get this valuable industry experience and build networks. More generally, volunteering can help bolster your resume with several transferable skills which may include: teamwork, time management, and organization.

I want to have more fun!

2019 was fun, but you want to take 2020 to the next level. Volunteering is a great way to try something new and change up your routine. Finding that perfect volunteer opportunity can be an enlightening moment. There are many benefits for volunteering, but at the end of the day, you wouldn’t be volunteering unless it was something you really wanted to do – something that you thought was fun!

Happy 2020, and happy volunteering!

Where should I go?

If you’re ready to start volunteering, but don’t know where to begin, find your next volunteer opportunity with Volunteer Markham. VM makes getting involved with your community a lot easier. Head over to our current listings and find the perfect placement today.

Giving Tuesday (and every day)

GIVING TUESDAY IS TOMORROW! Giving Tuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday to celebrate the season of GIVING!

Join the many Canadians and turn Tuesday into one that could mean so much for another! Donate your time, items you no longer need, money and/or your experience to someone who would really appreciate that you did.

Let Volunteer Markham help you or donate to us to help us help others!

To find a volunteer opportunity just click here:

To donate now just click


If you are a non profit organization in Markham and need volunteers please click here and let us help you!

Tis the Season for volunteering

It is a popular time of the year for giving! As we all begin thinking of that special gift or memory, we are here to remind you that the greatest treasure you have is your time! It is sometimes the hardest to give but remains the most valued thing we have.

There are so many wonderful ideas of how to make this year’s holiday season the best one yet. There are far too many stories to share here but I do welcome you to post and share your traditions and memories for others to learn from.

To kick off the season of giving, here at Volunteer Markham, our Youth Executive Team at Change the World Markham welcome other youth to volunteer with them at Markhaven Seniors Home for Brain Games!  Sign up at:  bit.ly/braingamesctw

“Changing The World Has No Borders”

Volunteerism is the foundation to healthy and happy communities – not just in Markham, but around the world. Whether it is a community summer camp, or a Red Cross mission in South America, volunteering impacts societies across the globe.

It’s me again everyone – Rubaina! I am back today with a little extra October motivation for you all. I am aware school is well on its way and midterms are right around the corner; we are all in the need for a little pick me up. As I was speaking with many of my peers over the last month about their volunteer experiences and their summers, I came across an intriguing experience that I thought would be amazing to share with anyone thinking of Volunteering. My close friend, Rebecca Zhong, recently went on a Volunteer mission to Peru in August this past summer. She, too, is a Grade 12 student at Markville Secondary School in Markham, Ontario. I sat down with her to ask her everything about her experiences and her advice to any aspiring volunteers. The results are a must read if you are seeking inspiration, motivation, and information!

How did you come across the opportunity?

I had always heard about travelling abroad and it was so intriguing to me. I sat down and searched for companies and missions looking for volunteers, applied/researched a few, and then registered! Thousands of volunteer opportunities are available online at the community or international level. The process was very simple.

What made you decide to take on this opportunity?

I have always loved making an impact in the lives of others, cultural experiences, and trying new things. I have volunteered for many youth events in the GTA and worked different jobs. The opportunity to travel to another country and use what I have learned to make a larger impact was so exciting to me.

Tell me more about your experiences during the duration of the trip.

I honestly do not know where to start! During the trip, we were able to help children at local schools with literacy, reading, math, and more. We lived with locals and got to experience Peru in its beauty and flaws. Talking to children about their life stories and the locals about their culture was awesome. We tried new foods, dances, sports, activities, and more! The trip was the best 5 days of my life.

What was your favourite memory? Why?

I tried ATV riding for the first time! During some free time, we met with some locals to try this radical new activity. With new opportunities come a range of surprising and exciting experiences and this was just one of them. I would have never tried something like this as at home.

What would you tell any aspiring volunteers?

Cool opportunities are not out of anyone’s reach. Yes you! If this all seems super cool yet unattainable – you’re wrong. I am not saying you should get on a plane to Peru this month, rather, push yourself to your own limits and start doing SOMETHING, anything. As long as you are willing to try something new and say “yes”, opportunity will always be there for you. I definitely recommend getting volunteer experience locally because that is what helps me take on larger opportunity like this. Volunteering is not about having a big flashy impact, rather causing authentic in communities and the environment.

What previous volunteering experience did you have?

I would volunteer for local, Markham community events like Night it up, MYC (Markham Youth Council) council events, and retirement homes.

How did the trip change your general perspectives about community involvement and the world in general?

Every human is equal. No matter where you are from and what separates you from other, every human life has equal value. That’s why we all need to do our part in making the world a better place. Volunteering can have such a large impact on this. I will never forget the days I spent in Peru and I apply the perspectives to my daily school and personal life every day. Our personal successes do not mean anything if we don’t help others.

How did your parents let you do this on your own?

Trust me – I get it!!! Strict parents are a problem for me like everyone one else. How in the world would they let me go, ON MY OWN, to a FOREIGN country, DURING HIGH SCHOOL?! My parents came around and yours can too, if you take the right steps. Make a proper list of reasons you really want to go. In addition, tell them about all the details of the trip – who are you going with (I signed up with my best friend), which organization is taking you, what safety protocols will be in place? All these questions will help them reconsider. Make sure to address the issue calmly and objectively. Further, all the information will be available to you when you do your research so definitely use the source – the organization hosting the trip – for things like departure dates, flights, accommodation, medical insurance, travelling and more.

Follow Rebecca Zhong on Facebook and feel free to reach out to her: https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.zhong.10

I hope that you all can take away from this experience and use this perspective in your own life. Remember, the most important thing is to get started now.

Feel free to reach out to me regarding any topics of interest for future blogs!

Until next time, Rubaina Singla Chair, Change the World Markham

Stay connected with Change The World Markham: facebook.com/changetheworldmarkham Volunteermarkham.ca


Just a click away…..


Just in case you missed it……..our search on a few valuable resources! 

Click below for volunteer recognition research and awards, the recent Senate Recommendations for the charitable sector and the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement.





If you have any resources you feel could benefit our community please feel free to share!

“The Starting Point is Always Now” states Change the World Markham Youth Chair

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

  1. 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!)
  2. 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.
  3. 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

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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:

Really great youth volunteer clubs to look into:

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,

Rubaina Singla

Chair, Change the World Markham

Stay connected with Change The World Markham:



Important Information about Vulnerable Sector Checks and Youth Volunteering!


Police Record Check Reform Act

What is the Police Record Check Reform Act?

The Police Record Check Reform Act was enacted on November 1, 2018. This new legislation ensures a clear, consistent and comprehensive set of standards that govern how police record checks are conducted and disclosed across the province.

What record checks are available under the new act?

The new legislation has standardized the three types of police record checks that can be conducted, while limiting and standardizing the information that is authorized for disclosure. This applies to all record-check providers in Ontario when conducting checks for employment and volunteer positions.

New Name
Police Criminal Record
Criminal Record Check
Police Information
Criminal Record and Judicial Matters
Police Vulnerable Sector
Vulnerable Sector Check

Disclosure of youth records

One of the most significant changes to police record checks in Ontario is the disclosure of youth records. Youth records are only permitted to be disclosed in two circumstances:

  1. To the youth themselves, who are not permitted to further disclose findings of guilt and must remove any results from the record check.
  2. To the Government of Canada or the government of a province or municipality for the purposes of employment or the performance of services, with or without remuneration.

What does this mean for youth?

Previously, police were able to release a police criminal record check containing youth records directly to the applicant, who in turn would provide the check to the organization to which they were applying. Under the new act, only federal, provincial and municipal government agencies will receive youth records, as police cannot disclose the existence of or any of the information contained within a youth record to non-government agencies. These agencies can no longer request youth records from applicants.

What is a ‘government agency’?

Only government agencies may receive youth records. Government agencies include:

  • Federal departments, such as the Canada Border Services Agency, Correctional Service Canada, Department of National Defence, etc.
  • Provincial ministries, such as the Ministry of Transportation, Ministry of Health and Long Term Care, Ministry of Education, etc.
  • Municipal departments, such as a public library, city hall, parks department, etc. 

Non government agencies include:

  • Private retirement homes, daycare facilities
  • Hospitals, clinics
  • Schools, universities
  • Children’s Aid Society, YMCA, Victim Services, etc.