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The How-To for a First-Time Volunteer: Ace it, Enjoy it.

Posted By Helen Lin, Youth Auditor, October 23, 2016
Updated: October 22, 2016
Teens heart shape 

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes 

 

Once I was a shy, naive, volunteering newbie…

But since then I’ve woken up at 5am for shifts, dedicated hundreds of hours of service, experienced volunteering at a handful of nonprofit organizations...and made every mistake in the book.

Now that you’ve been to the Youth Expo and gotten a good sense of what nonprofits and roles are out there, the time has come to volunteer. Volunteering is so different from going to school, because now you’re actually faced with real world challenges!

Here are 6 tips to help reduce the challenges, so you’re just left with facing the real world. (Sorry, there’s nothing I can do about that; you’ll have to face it sooner or later.)

 

1. Pre-Shift Reflection: Did You Pick the Right Volunteer Position?

There’s nothing worse than not enjoying your first shift, especially since volunteering is supposed to be both fun and meaningful. Before you agree to volunteer with an organization long-term or even short-term, make sure it fits you!

 

 

 

2. Be Prepared and Be On Time.

So you’ve decided to commit to an organization? Great! The best way to show your commitment is by reading up on that volunteer manual (if available) as well as arriving on time or earlier. Don’t be that one volunteer who runs in panting and sweating because they’re 10 minutes late.

 

 

3. Make a Good Impression

First step to first impressions is following #2: Be Prepared, Be On Time. The most impressive first-time volunteers I’ve seen are the ones who walk in already knowing what to expect. Also, do your best to be enthusiastic and follow your supervisor’s directions. If you can do that, you’ll look super dedicated, the volunteer manager will love you, and you might even be asked to help other volunteers who might be experiencing difficulties.

 

4. Don’t Be Shy

Spark conversations. Ask questions. Make friends. Volunteering is so much more enjoyable when you’re with people you’re comfortable with. Being friendly plays a big part in making a good first impression. It may be awkward at first, but trust me, try your best to step out of your comfort zone and initiate a conversation with a fellow volunteer or the manager.
Don’t be shy, Awesome > Comfort Zone.

 

 

5.You Did It, Be Proud!

Has it been three hours already? I hope it was a good experience. Whether you’re doing this for your community service hours, or because your parents made you, pat yourself on the back. You have just taken a big step into the world of social responsibility. It also doesn't hurt to talk about it on social media, the organization you volunteer with would greatly appreciate the exposure especially if you tag them! 

 

 

6. Post-Shift Reflection: Again, Did You Pick the Right Position?

Time for a metacognitive analysis! I mean, self-reflection. How do you feel? If you liked it, hooray! If you didn’t, no problem. Not everything is going to be all rainbows and sunshine, so if this wasn’t the right organization/position for you, don’t worry. Let your volunteer manager know and give as much notice as possible. Hopefully you signed up for more than one organization at the Youth Expo though… if not, Volunteer Toronto has your back.

 

On behalf of staff at Volunteer Toronto, the Youth Advisory Committee, the volunteers who helped put on the event, and the organizations that attended, thanks for coming to the 2016 Youth Expo!

 


Helen Lin is a Grade 10 student at Marc Garneau Collegiate and she is a Youth Auditor at Volunteer Toronto. She started formally volunteering at age 12, and hasn't stopped her community involvement since. Helen has also volunteered for SickKids Foundation, TEDxYouth@Toronto, Ladies Learning Code, and Baycrest Hospital. Her passions include gender rights, sustainable development, global health, social innovation, engineering, and entrepreneurship.


 

Tags:  40 High School Community service hours  40 hours  getting your 40 hours  How to get your 40 hours  volunteer in Toronto  Volunteering  Youth volunteers 

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5 Ways to Complete Your High School Community Service Hours This Summer

Posted By Jessica Huynh, Outreach Summer Student, August 1, 2016
Updated: July 29, 2016

High School Community Service Hours”

 

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! As we enter August sun-kissed and carefree, the realization of another school year drawing close reminds us of those high school community service hours we (still) have left to complete! Was volunteering on your summer to do list?

Summer is a great time to meet interesting people, develop new skills, and attend events you may have otherwise not known about. Whether you have 5 more hours or the full 40 to knock-off, here’s a list of summer event opportunities that are geared towards high school students.

Slather on some sunscreen and round up your friend, summer isn’t over and neither is your chance to squeeze in some community service! We present to you 5 Ways to Complete Your High School Community Service Hours This Summer:

 

Belmont House - Summerfest 

1. SPECIAL EVENTS VOLUNTEER - SUMMERFEST

Organization: Belmont House


Post Link
: http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=311453


Date needed
: Wednesday, 10 August, 2016 (10:30 AM- 3 PM)


Location
: Downtown Toronto – 55 Belmont Street near Bay and Bloor

It’s not Bestival or WayHome, but Summerfest is a celebrative event for elderly residents of the Belmont House. Belmont House is a charity that has been creating a caring environment for seniors for over 150 years! This special event is looking to take on 30 volunteers to assist with their interactive event. Bringing together residents, families, and tenants, it promises to provide a day of food and fun! As a volunteer, your responsibilities will include:

-       Helping run games

-       Interacting with residents

-       Serving food &

-       Completing various assigned tasks

Interested? Email Purni Rahman, the Development and Volunteer Coordinator at prahman@belmonthouse.comor call 416-964-9231 ext. 220! No resume or cover letter mentioned in posting.

 

 

Habitat For Humanity Build 

2. BUILD SITE VOLUNTEER HOST

Organization: Habitat for Humanity GTA

Post Link: http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=379235


Date(S) needed
: 11, 17, 18, & 25 August 2016 (8-4p)


Location
: Scarborough – Birchmount Road & Brampton


Who doesn’t love free refreshments, lunch, and t-shirts? In addition to these lovely incentives, your dedication as a Build Site Volunteer Host will contribute to helping provide low-income families the opportunity to build and buy affordable, quality home. As of April 2014, Habitat for Humanity GTA has built over 270 affordable within Toronto!  Through special events occurring throughout August, your friendly and professional attitude will be of assistance to the organization. As a volunteer, your responsibilities will include:

-       Supporting registrations

-       Setting up breakfast, lunch, and fun activities for volunteer groups

-       Taking photographs and distributing prizes

-       Cleaning up and preparing for the next event

-       And more!


Super Car Sunday 

3. SUPER CAR SUNDAY VOLUNTEER (VARIOUS ROLES)

Organization: Women’s College Hospital Foundation

Post Links:

1.     VIP AREA:
http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=375577

2.     SUNDAY TEAR DOWN ASSISTANT: http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=375423

3.     SET UP ASSISTANT: http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=375416

4.     ADMIN SUPPORT:
http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=375563

5.     MAIN GATE HOST:
http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=375443

6.     BBQ PREPARATION: http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=375441


Date needed
: Sunday, August 21, 2016 (various times), Orientation on Tuesday, 9 August 2016 @ Women’s College Hospital (various times)


Location
: Downtown Toronto – 11 Sunlight Park Road near Queen and Broadview


This opportunity will drive you wild! Supercar Sunday is an annual event presented by BMW Toronto and Saturns Drives. It features over 100 exotic and expensive cars from brands such as Lamborghini and Ferrari. All proceeds will be donated to the Women’s College Hospital’s Orthopedic Surgery program. They are currently looking to take on a wide range volunteers to fill their open positions. Please see posting links above to find out more about what each position entails!

Resumes can be emailed to Todd.Perry@wchospital.ca with the subject title: Supercar Sunday *POSITION NAME*.

 

Back to school event volunteer 

4. BACK TO SCHOOL EVENT VOLUNTEER


Organization
: New Circles Community Services


Post Link
: http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=223865


Date needed
: August 27, 2016 (9:45-1pm or 1-4pm)


Location
: North York – 161 Bartley Drive near Eglinton Avenue East and Bermondsey Road


Going back to school is a great excuse to pick out new wardrobe staples and replace old, outgrown pieces. However, not everyone has access to basic necessities many of us take for granted. New Circles Community Services is a non-profit organization whose core mission is to provide basic necessities to those living in poverty, primarily through adequate clothing and support. At their annual Teen Back to School Event, they are looking for 6 volunteers to help support their mission. As a volunteer, your responsibilities will include:

-       Helping teens shop

-       Organizing and tidying clothing areas

-       Checking out the garments

-       Giving out new backpacks

Interested? Email poppy@newcircles.caNo resume or cover letter mentioned in posting. 


Phone Campaign Volunteer 

6. PHONE CAMPAIGN VOLUNTEER


Organization
: Community Living Toronto


Post Link
: http://www.volunteertoronto.ca/networking/apply_now.aspx?view=2&id=380118


Date needed
: 8-12 & 15-19 August 2016 (Anytime from 10 AM- 4 PM)

Location: 20 Spadina Road, Bloor and Spadina


Had enough sun or nurturing your sunburn? Phone Campaign Volunteer might be the position for you. As part of Community Living Toronto’s Donor Thank-a-thon, you will work alongside the fundraising department to make phone calls to thank those who financially donated towards their organization. This opportunity is perfect for students who want to gain customer service experience in an office setting! Community Living Toronto supports those living with intellectual disability find accessible ways to live within their community.

They are looking to take on 2-3 volunteers. As a volunteer, your responsibilities will include:

-       Having good phone and customer service manner

-       Showcasing strong English communication skills

-       Being able to follow a script and training guidelines

-       Speaking clearly on the phone

Full day volunteers will be provided a lunch! Interested? Contact Yulia Prudova, Volunteer Coordinator, at yprudova@cltoronto.ca or at 416-968-0650 Ext 1209

 

If the opportunities above are not of your interest, be sure to check out all our postings at volunteertoronto.ca/opportunities. We recommend leaving all the spaces empty and filtering your search by clicking on ‘1. Suitable for Youth 14-17.’

Now get out there and spread some summer volunteer lovin’! 


Attend any of our free information sessions on volunteering in Toronto!

Jessica Huynh

Jessica Huynh is a Creative Industries Student at Ryerson University, specializing in Storytelling in Media and Curatorial Practices. She is interested in visual culture and stimulating intellectual conversation through language and design. View her online portfolio or Connect with her on LinkedIn!


 

 

Tags:  40 High School Community service hours  40 hours community service  High school volunteer hours  Teen volunteering  Volunteer hours  Volunteer in Toronto 

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