You get what you give

Volunteering is awesome. Maybe it’s my non-profit background talking, but I think everyone wins when you join a committee, sit on a board, or commit to a weekly shift.

A group of people sits around a table

I snapped this photo at the last 2014 Festival du Loup Committee meeting.

I volunteer to support organizations that do work I find valuable. But when I sign up, I know I’ll also get to meet great people, gain valuable experience, learn new things, watch my impact over time, and (big picture) build up my community. Plus there’s that “I’m awesome!” high-fivesque feeling you get at the end of a great event, meeting or project.

There are downsides, of course. My mom taught me that committing to something means giving it your all. Pile a few volunteer roles together (I can’t help myself!) and the result is a packed schedule. When I’m tired, I’d just rather sit on my couch and eat Cheetos.

But in the end, the pros always outweigh the cons, orange puffed cornmeal snacks and all. Especially now that I’m giving back to my community – the place that shaped me before unleashing me on Toronto in my late teens. My recent causes include:

Le Festival du Loup: I’m Franco-Ontarian, and this event brings frenchies like me together for a weekend of live music, beer, dancing and gossip. The tunes are toe-tappingly good – sometimes square-dancingly good. This year’s festival is on July 18, 19 and 20 in Lafontaine. We’re currently looking for sponsors, recruiting artisans, and figuring out how to sell tickets online.

The Midland Cultural Centre: North Simcoe is a secret hub of artistic greatness. We’ve bred authors, painters, musicians and everything in between. The MCC means all those talented people finally have a place to hang out, and an outlet to share their work. If you haven’t been to Saturday Open Mic or visited Quest Gallery, you should. Or better yet, sign up to become a regular box office or event volunteer.

The Georgian’s Got Talent (or not) Benefit Concert: What better way for me to give back to my employer than to help with its annual talent show/benefit concert? I’ll be singing and playing – which, frankly, is terrifying. All proceeds support Georgian College students who need a financial boost to get through school. Performances are on March 20 and 21 and you can buy tickets through Bear Essentials.

There are so many great organizations to get involved with around here, it was really difficult to decide where to direct my occasionally flailing enthusiasm. Some of my other local favourites include La Clé, Shelter Now, Chigamik, Community Reach, Waypoint and United Way of Greater Simcoe County.

Wherever you are, you’ve no doubt got similarly awesome local non-profits just waiting for someone with your skills and talents. If you’ve got time, consider diving in and helping out – you won’t regret it.

5 thoughts on “You get what you give

  1. I feel so much the same way as you do, loving and serving others, and giving my 100%. If I do not set the example by giving back to my community, how can I expect others to get the joy that I get from giving back.
    My currently volunteer obligations are :
    GATEWAY CENTRE FOR LEARNING- tutoring adults to improve their math, reading and writing skills. I currently have 11 wonderful students – they are always looking for volunteers, especially people who would like to do One on One. This organisation was chosen because I have experience and the tool box needed in education, and I can’t see putting it to waste.
    HELPING HANDS SOUP KITCHEN – Our communities have sooo many people who need help, sometimes they just need to get in from the cold, or need an extra meal so they can keep their apt, or just need to feel loved. Last week we fed 51 guests. I donate my time, and my cooking skills – making parts of the meal or sandwiches or desserts. This makes me feel as good as them walking out.
    QUEST ART – I sit on the Board of Directors for Quest… Quest has changed sooo much in the past few years. With the beautiful new MCC, it gives Quest the space required to teach kids, adults and seniors, as well as showcasing people’s work – upcoming artists or well known artists. And of course if you are looking for that unique gift for that someone special, check out the gift shop where things are VERY reasonably priced. Both Upper and Lower Gallery are FREE to visit.
    MEMERE WEDNESDAYS – After the Soup Kitchen, I bring or go out for lunch with my 91 yr old Memere. Then I bring her to do her running around – library, banking, groceries etc.
    PATIENT TRANSFER/CARE- over recent years, we have had a lot of family members and friends who have required transportation, or care due to health problems… I am there to do whatever is needed.
    I feel my plate is nicely full, but quite manageable at this point. Unfortunately none of these positions give me a drug plan, a pension, a weekly income, but damn they keep my feel good tank full =D
    Thanks Mikeala…

  2. Pingback: A year ago | Hello Field

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