When I am not on mat leave, I am a social worker – and I am one of those annoying people that genuinely love my job and what I do. I have worked mainly in non-profits, and deeply believe in giving back to my community. I know, I know…it’s hard to find the time, the money, etc…BUT – I strongly believe that there is always a way for each person to give back, no matter how big or small. Every so often I will be sharing a different way for people to get involved in our community, and if just one person decides to give it a shot, I’ll consider it a success!
The first non-profit is one that is near and dear to me – Big Brothers Big Sisters. No matter where in the world you are, chances are good that there is a Big Brothers Big Sisters near you, and there are SO many different volunteering options. I have been involved with Big Brothers Big Sisters in numerous ways – as a staff member, placement student, and as a Big Sister! (I will say that being a ‘Big’ is such an amazing experience. I had a kick ass Little Sister who I hung out with every week or two. You learn so much about yourself and learn to love even larger than you thought…but I could write a whole post on that! It’s a truly rewarding volunteering experience knowing that you are making such a difference in someone’s life.)
It is a wonderful organization that relies on volunteers to run – volunteers are embedded in so many different levels of the organization (all with varying levels of commitment) – as a one-time supporter of a fundraising event, an occasional Big Bunch leader spending time with kids, or as a Big Brother/Sister, which is what everyone usually thinks of when they think of the organization.
My local agency is Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oshawa-Whitby, but there are agencies literally all over the world. When I was vacationing in Florida, I even had a chance to meet and chat with the staff for the local agency in that city. It was one of the highlights of my vacation (I know, I’m a huge geek – I loved hearing about how the agency is run in a different country!) If the thought of being involved with them interests you even in the least, take a minute to call your local agency and chat with them to find out what kind of volunteering options they offer (and heads up to moms with high school kids – most agencies will let them do their volunteer hours at events!).
If you are local, there is a fun event coming up in April for the ladies, Tea at Two. It is going to be held on Sunday, April 17th, 2016 from 2-5pm at the King Street Community Church Cafe. Tickets are $20, and include lots of fun activities, including a photobooth, mini massages, hair and makeup touchups, raffle, loonie auction, bake walk (you can win amazing baked goods from local businesses), as well as tea, sandwiches, and dessert. I will be there with my daughter and niece for a girls afternoon out! Want to join me? You can buy tickets here. If you really want to have a rockin’ good time, you can shoot me an email and let me know you’re coming and join my table!
Volunteerism is a value that I hope to pass onto my kids. Andrew has already been involved in giving back at Christmas, in a very simple way. Last year, we went shopping and picked out gifts that we packed up at a get-together to donate to Samaritan’s Purse. He was young, but seemed to understand that we were sending the gifts to children who were not as lucky as us to have everything he does. Do any other parents try to teach giving back and volunteerism to their kids? I would love to hear what kind of activities you do with them!
Connect with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Oshawa-Whitby on their website or on Facebook.