A Career Night: The impact that volutneering and charitable work can have on your life.

The excited students started to file into the hall, the parents followed behind, sometimes they lead as the children try to keep pace. There was a nervous excitement in the room. It was Career Night at a local high school in Mississauga. The Applewood Heights Secondary School gym was packed, as industry professionals with their display boards lined the perimeter of the gym. All anxious to share their knowledge and experience with the high school students.

The Career Night event was arranged by Applewood Heights in an attempt to assist students with their career choices. It was a fantastic idea as high school students were able to engage with professionals from a variety of different disciplines, ranging from nursing to civil engineering, the Police force and seemingly everything in between. Solidarity in Action was invited. We were able to share our experiences working in a charity.

Our experience has shown us the role volunteering, or  getting involved in a charity can play an important role in a student’s life. High school students and university students find themselves in an increasingly competitive climate. They compete to enter university, college and the work force. Even once they have successfully graduated from university or college, their employers may still insist that have not accrued enough experience. Students need skills to set them apart from all the other applicants. The skills that one gains from becoming involved in many cases may not be possible in many other forums than a non-profit or a charity.

The student response was overwhelmingly positive.  Excited parents explained that their families were involved in charitable work. They reflected on the excellent developments that their children had undergone as a result of their involvement in charitable work. as students who were presently involved in charitable type work explained that through agreed that they too had built skills that they may not have been able to develop in setting such as a school. They were impressed with the satisfaction they gained.

We often hear about how satisfied people feel when they volunteer and give back. The benefits of volunteering often discuss the emotional response one receives. However, there is a growing interest in demonstrating the skills one can garner from volunteering in the community or internationally. During a recent debrief session for our 2011 volunteers, led by our partners at Wilfrid Laurier University, the focus was on how their experience in Peru or Ecuador helped make them more attractive employees.

Thank you to the Applewood staff and their effective assistants (motivated and talented high school students). It is wonderful to see high schools taking proactive to help their students prepare for their post-secondary experience.

As well, thank you to those who took the time to visit our booth. It was a pleasure for us to meet you. It is wonderful to see such motivated students!

Here are a list of skills we felt we have developed as a result of our work in South America and other charities and non-profits in Canada.

–          Adaptable

–          Develop a strong work ethic

–          Expand your network

–          Make new friends

–          Get on the job experience

This week take some time to reflect on the impact that volunteering, or getting involved a charity  has given to you.

What skills have you developed? How do you find time in your busy schedules to volunteer? Do you want to see your children becoming involved in charitable work? What can we do to help facilitate their experiences?

We look forward to hearing from you.

Have a great weekend!

Larry

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