50x50 Challenge #18: Volunteer again
I was in my late twenties when I started volunteering for various organizations and events in my hometown of Edmonton, including the local food bank, a downtown soup kitchen, and the Edmonton Fringe Festival. It felt good to give back, especially since my own family relied on the food bank at times when I was growing up. It wasn't a regular thing we needed, but it was there for us the few times that we did, and I'm grateful for that.
There are many benefits that stem from volunteering your time and/or talent, other than the sense of doing good. You feel like you're part of a community and that you're having a positive impact, you get to meet new people and learn new skills, you allow yourself to step outside of your comfort zone while helping others, and it can even be a great thing for your résumé, if that's your motivation. And that's perfectly fine, because you're sure to get far more out of it than just a sentence on your CV.
I've since volunteered with various other groups and organizations over the years, most notably a two-year term serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Edmonton Pride Festival Society, about five years back. Although there were stressful times, I am so grateful for that experience and wouldn't trade it for anything. I met some amazing people and I learned so much about running a large event and even the very LGBTQ2+ community I am a part of. Most importantly, I felt a sense of purpose.
It's been several years now since the last time I volunteered my time to help someone other than myself, outside of my family and friends, of course. It was time to give back again. This blog post is where I will share any experiences I have as a volunteer from here on out (see below). If you've never volunteered yourself or simply haven't in some time, consider finding a place to give your time...something important to you if at all possible. I guarantee you will NOT regret it.
July - September, 2021: Although I was contacted and asked if I wanted to volunteer for the Shamair Turner for City Council campaign, it was actually exactly something I was considering even before that. In fact, I had even contacted Shamair, who was running to be the Councillor for my particular ward in Edmonton, on social media to show her my support. In July, I began logging voter information into a computer program that allowed the campaign team to organize information they gathered while canvassing. I also showed support for Shamair via my social media pages, sharing her content and encouraging people to consider voting for her. Unfortunately, due to some family issues by that September, I had to pull back and was no longer able to volunteer my time with the campaign, at least at the same capacity.