Many students have found difficulties in finding volunteering opportunities, especially when they are in the first year. So here are some recommended organizations, which provide you with great opportunities to develop skills and build on your resume.
YMCA of Greater Vancouver: YMCA of Greater Vancouver is a non-profit organization that aims at strengthening the foundations of community. They provide various community services such as childcare, youth exchange, and job searching as well as self-employment services. Volunteers at the YMCA may develop their leadership skills by engaging with children within a broader community. Duties include coaching, camp leading and mentoring. A great choice if you like kids!
MOSAIC: This is a very good place for international students or those who have international backgrounds. As an organization dedicated to helping immigrants with settlement and integration into Canadian society, MOSAIC not only offers their volunteers chances of getting experience but introduces them to different cultures through volunteering as well. Duties include helping newcomers learn about Canadian culture, history and lifestyles; share knowledge and experience with mentees; become involved in the community; and also provide new immigrants little tips, in terms of language learning and successful networking. If you are passionate about learning about other cultures and settlement issues, MOSAIC is definitely the right place for you.
Surrey Christmas Bureau: If you prefer a relatively fun work environment, Surrey Christmas Bureau is the place you may consider. The Surrey Christmas Bureau assists lower-income families with children under the age of 16 across the lower mainland area. They match sponsors for those families and send them toys, gifts, warm clothing and necessary household items during the Christmas season. Volunteers help with sorting toys, deliveries and pick-ups to make Christmas a special holiday for local people. Very homey organization!
Vancouver Art Gallery: The Vancouver Art Gallery houses a permanent collection of more than 10,000 artworks, including historical collection from both North American and Europe. Having run for around 80 years, the gallery’s holdings reflect its commitment to preserve and present the art of British Columbia. Volunteer positions in the art gallery embrace various areas such as marketing, administration and event planning. There are different kinds of programs available for you to choose from. Based on your strength and skills, you can choose whatever that suits you. This is a good opportunity to get involved in the community and work with people in a social environment.
BC Children’s Hospital: This one is very suitable for students who want to get some experience in medical and healthcare services, especially for those who plan to go to medical school. The Sunny Hill Health Center under the hospital supports children with disabilities, from birth to their 19th birthday. Volunteers assist to support the program and help out with areas like daycare, gardening, recreation and special events. Training will also be provided. If you are planning to get into public health, think about BC Children’s Hospital!
Some Little Tips: There are actually lots of non-profit organizations that provide volunteer opportunities across Vancouver, apparently not limited to five. However, these five organizations are what I think are really suitable for students without much experience. You can also check out govolunteer.ca to look for positions that match with your skills if you still do not have an idea. If you are overwhelmed with tons of posts on the website, first think about your strength and skills before you apply for any positions. This way you may have a much clearer mind of what you are going to do. Start searching and applying. Good luck!