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Many people consider volunteering to be an activity reserved for the Holiday Season and high school students looking to gain resume experience.
The common argument from working professionals is that they simply do not have the time to volunteer. But we all know that this is not true.
The benefits of volunteering are endless. Volunteering can help you in your professional life because it “amps up” your resume and makes you seem more dynamic. In addition to the extra resume clout, volunteering also has added benefits because you acquire new skills, knowledge, and perspective.
This new article series highlights inspiring Ashton College employees who have dedicated their time and efforts to volunteer for efforts they are passionate about.
Rachael Zapp has been with Ashton College for two years. She is our Event Coordinator in charge of functions like the Ashton Achievement Awards! In addition to her role as Event Coordinator, Rachael is also the CPD Program Coordinator. When Rachael isn’t busy making sure everything runs smoothly at the college, she spends her free time volunteering for organizations she is passionate about. We interviewed her about what volunteering means to her and asked her if she had any advice for those looking to get involved. Read her inspiring answers below:
Why do you feel like volunteering is an important thing to you?
You get to help others – lots of volunteer opportunities are focused on different charities and non-profit organizations. By volunteering your time, you are helping that organization save money and raise awareness on whatever cause they focus on.
Volunteering makes you feel good! It feels great to give back to the community and support causes that are close to your heart.
Volunteering builds your network. Volunteering has introduced me to so many people – many of which have become close friends. It is also a good way to network with industry professionals which might even open up opportunities for you in the future.
You can also add volunteer involvement to your resume. Not only do you build lots of skills through your volunteer work, but you can also feature your volunteer experience on your resume and/or LinkedIn profile! I’ve read articles that say employers are more likely to hire someone with volunteer experience than someone who does not. Personally, after I graduated from The Art Institute, the only event experience I had was volunteer work – I thank my volunteer hours for landing my job with Ashton College!
How long have you been volunteering for?
I have been volunteering for nine years!
Where do you volunteer and why?
For the past 9 years, I have been supporting the Canadian Cancer Society through Relay for Life. I went to high school in Ontario and I participated in the event every year and volunteered my time by organizing various fundraiser events to raise money for my team. When I moved to BC, I volunteered as an Information Booth Director at the Richmond Relay for Life. Currently, I am a volunteer on the Relay for Life Vancouver Committee as a Fundraising Development Co-Chair.
Relay For Life is a 12-hour non-competitive relay to CELEBRATE cancer survivors, REMEMBER those we have lost, and FIGHT BACK against this disease. Teams of 8 to 15 people participate by walking, jogging, or running a track for the duration of the event, and funds raised go toward funding cancer research, awareness, and outreach programs.
As Fundraising Development Co-Chair, I am responsible for contacting businesses within the local community to support our event by contributing cash and gift-in-kind donations. I also meet on a regular basis with the RFL committee to share ideas and assist in the planning process.
In the past, I have also volunteered for organizations that support various cancers (examples include: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, and BC Lung Association) as well as sick children (such as BC Children’s Hospital Foundation and McMaster Children’s Hospital).
In 2005, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia – a year later he passed away. When I visited him in the hospital, I witnessed a lot of cancer patients and sick kids; hence why I am so passionate about supporting charities for cancer and sick children. I volunteer my time in memory of my dad and in hopes of finding a cure!
Do you have any standout memories from a time volunteering?
To be honest, I think my most favorite volunteer experience has been joining the Relay for Life Vancouver Committee. I have learned so much about the Canadian Cancer Society and I’ve met a lot of great people. Every day I get more and more excited for event day!
I also had an amazing experience volunteering in Dominica in grade twelve for missionary work. We were there for 10 days and volunteered our time at an elementary school and seniors home. When you travel to a third-world country, it’s definitely an eye-opener! In the future I would love to travel to another third-world country and assist with missionary work. I think if anyone has the opportunity to volunteer overseas – DO IT! It’s a life changing experience.
Do you have any advice or tips for people who may want to start volunteering?
If you’re not sure what kind of volunteer work you’re interested in, try applying for one-day opportunities. There are so many different volunteer opportunities out there! Whether you’re interested in helping the environment or serving meals to those less fortunate, your help is much appreciated!
If you’re living in BC or Alberta, a great website for finding volunteer opportunities is www.govolunteer.ca.