I am a Volunteer Superhero. For as long as I can remember, I have volunteered. When I was in high school, I volunteered to get our yearbook published and I volunteered to help with our graduation celebrations. When I was in college, I was an executive on our student council and later on, when I attended McGill University, I had various volunteer opportunities with my inter-fraternity counsel and faculty. When I met my husband, one of the main reasons that I liked him off the bat was his propensity for giving of his time. He too had volunteered when he was in high school. As an adult, my husband helped out on Bingo night, organizing fundraisers for the volleyball and soccer teams and helping put up nets at soccer practices and games – all as a volunteer. Being an active part of our community and volunteering our time is all part of being a good citizen. Little did I know that this was not always the case for some of my peers, I found out that many had rarely volunteered in their high school or their community. It is a shame because I have been rewarded many times for my time spent volunteering.
As our three children grew and became active in both school events and sports, my husband and I found ourselves volunteering yet again. It was not unusual to find me serving pizza at school lunches and holding hands and supervising children on class field trips. There is nothing like being a parent volunteer when your children are in school. It is both fulfilling and lets you become a part of your school’s community. It creates benefits and learning opportunities for you and your family. When the school catchment is city-wide because it is a French school, you learn that being a volunteer helps you meet parents from other neighbourhoods. Along with being a ‘lunch lady’, I also sat on the PTA or Parent Council for six years, the last four of which I was as treasurer. This particular job was a huge learning opportunity and became a labour of love. We worked hard to raise funds for playground equipment, class room supplies for each teacher and school field trips for all the students. It is not easy to balance the books but I managed to do that every year. One of the initiatives that I was most proud of was the Family Day of Appreciation where we would thank our volunteers and our parents for helping us throughout the school year. Although, there certainly was a core of volunteers, each classroom had their own set of parents that helped tutor students, served hot lunches, attended field trips and helped organize school events! Having this celebration is how we said THANKS for their volunteer efforts!
Many, many activities could not happen without the help of parent volunteers like myself, my husband and all the other parents. Our teachers need to focus on teaching and our administrators need to focus on ensuring the safety and prosperity of those young minds. We as parents need to step away from our office towers, home offices and, frankly, our phones and take the time to volunteer in our elementary and high schools. The benefit for our students is immense. The other good reason to volunteer is provide your children with strong role models. We showed them that superheroes are not just animated figures in movies but that volunteers could be superheroes too!
It is for that great reason – being a role model – that our children have grown to love volunteering.
I have to give credit to our provincial education ministry for having placed volunteerism as one of the cornerstones of secondary school education. All students in the province of Ontario must complete 40 hours of community service in order to graduate from high school. Some schools have doubled that requirement because it should be easy to volunteer 10 hours a year. Most students manage to complete their volunteer hours in their last year of school. Our daughter managed to complete over 60 hours of volunteer hours by the time she had completed grade 12 this spring. She had volunteered with her Volleyball club teaching young children how to play volleyball and have fun playing sports. Our eldest also taught at her Irish Dance school teaching little ones how to dance. In her last year of high school she spent part of the summer building a school in Ecuador with a world renowned volunteer organization. She was introduced to Free the Children through We Day. In order to qualify to attend We Day, students are required to volunteer a certain amount of hours to earn a seat. Those events and her trip abroad, helped her make the decision to study International Development and Globalization in university. She hopes to eventually work in the non-profit sector helping children in developing countries.
Our middle child (that you see in these pictures) was in the Dominican Republic with 39 other classmates. They fundraised money for over a year to be able to pay for the airfare and accommodation as well as bringing school supplies to a small elementary school in the DR. The week that she spent there helped her appreciate the importance of charity, benevolence and giving back to a community that was not her own. Because of this trip, it solidified in her mind that she wanted to be a teacher. She also wants to be a volleyball coach and to continue helping in her community. In sports, she has also learned that being a volunteer can provide opportunities that others would never have. I’m not sure she is likely to forget being a flag bearer at the FIFA Women’s World Cup Semi-final game between the United States and Germany. Those moments are worth all the hours spent rehearsing and carrying the FIFA flag. I am very proud of our children for appreciating the value of volunteering because you know #RewardVolunteers!
The benefits in being a volunteer are important for your own well being, confidence and growth but when you see it impact the lives of your children – it is priceless. Reward Volunteers can help you find a fit for your time, talents and interest in volunteering your time in your area. It’s a site that allows you to log your volunteer hours and keep a record of all the good you’re putting into the world. I will never stop volunteering. I will always be a #VolunteerSuperhero!
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post and I received compensation for the writing but all opinions are my own. I believer strongly that volunteering is a social good that helps our communities grow stronger. Thanks for dropping by and reading the post!