I once stumbled upon a quote that has resonated with me for many years, “Volunteers do not necessarily have the time; they just have the heart,” by Elizabeth Andrew. Sometimes with a busy schedule with school, work, and other extracurricular activities, it can be difficult to find time to volunteer. Due to the commitment needed, many are reluctant to begin volunteering. However, volunteering through YVC has allowed me to find meaning and joy in giving back to my community.
I began volunteering because of pressure from my family to go out and try something new. I was hesitant to join YVC because I was quite shy and afraid to step outside of my comfort zone. Upon arriving at my first volunteer project, I was immediately greeted by a friendly Team Leader and a group of enthusiastic volunteers. As we began to do the icebreaker activity, I immediately felt more relaxed. I was quickly able to make many friends and meet youth from all across my city! Due to the comfortable and engaging environment that YVC provided, I was able to fully take part in the service-learning activities. This allowed me to recognize the issues that individuals in my community faced. Soon, I became passionate about various social issues that were prevalent in my community, such as homelessness, stigmas surrounding mental health, and various environmental issues.
Through my passion for solving the issues in my city, I found a way to connect with the individuals in my community. The relationships I developed sparked a sense of empathy and compassion within me, that further fueled my love for volunteering. Witnessing hardships that exist in my city pushed me to do my part in giving back. The most gratifying part of volunteering has been directly interacting with the individuals. While serving, seeing smiles and hearing gratitude continuously inspired me to keep volunteering. The little things I witness and experience have gone a long way in encouraging me to go the extra mile when volunteering.
Volunteering has changed the way I view my community and how I view various situations. The empathy developed through service has opened my eyes to the different circumstances everyone lives in, which has allowed me to be more compassionate and willing to help others. I would never have been able to develop these skills and values without YVC and I am so grateful. To this day, I still remember my very first volunteer project and the immediate sense of community I experienced. These memories push me to continue volunteering and seek opportunities to give back to my community.
Hi! My name is Martina Min and I am from Calgary, Canada! I am in grade 12 and I have been volunteering with YVC for about 5 years now. This is my fourth year serving on IYAB and my first year as a Co-Chair. I am excited to continue volunteering and representing the youth volunteers of YVC! I am super passionate about giving back to my community, mental health, mindfulness and the environment! In my spare time, I like to read, watch movies, drink tea, go on hikes or walks, and spend time with friends and family.