Volunteers: The Power Source of Associations
Even an hour makes a difference
It didn't start out as being very "voluntary". I was a bored 14-year-old anticipating a summer of sitting on the couch and watching soap operas the summer my mother sent me off to volunteer. There was no way, she said, that she was going to be stepping over my prone body for three months. I was sent off to the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario (CHEO) to offer my services as a volunteer -- an organization to which both my parents had already given a lot of their time and effort.
I called my best friend and together we rode the bus to CHEO and our first summer as volunteers. That year we worked in the library and wheeled the book cart through the wards. There was nothing quite like seeing sick children stuck in the hospital on a beautiful summer day to make us appreciate how very lucky we were. During subsequent summers, I worked in Medical Records doing filing and for Community Relations doing office work. That experience was invaluable to me, both professionally and personally.
Kate Moore, RPR|
Volunteerism has been part of my family life as long as I can remember. My mother volunteered at CHEO once my sister and I were old enough to be off at school all day. It was her way of giving back to the community while also being able to upgrade office skills that had lain dormant while she was a stay-at-home mom. My father volunteered his services to the CHEO Foundation -- the fund-raising arm of the hospital -- as a member of their Board of Directors. He was also a member of the Kiwanis Club. Often, I was sent off to various events to help out as a runner or to sell tickets for raffles. It was always great fun.
Today, in Ontario, much is being made of the new requirement for high school students to complete 40 hours of volunteer work in order to receive their diploma. Many parents and students have argued against this requirement, stating that it fulfils no academic purpose and is not relevant to children's education. I think that teaching our young people the value of volunteering is a wonderful thing. It is an opportunity that can open your eyes to aspects of life you would never be able to experience, whether it be people who are ill, people who are disadvantaged or simply to meet people you might not otherwise run across. The practical experience gained can always be put to use down the road, no matter what profession one might choose. Not all learning has to come from textbooks!
It is equally rewarding to give back to one's profession. HR professionals across the country are working hard on a volunteer basis for the many associations that work to improve the visibility of our industry, develop standards for accreditation, share best practices and provide networking and educational opportunities for us all. It is thanks to these hard working people that our profession has come so far in the past 20 years, and our hard working IPM volunteers, both past and present, are no exception.
Whether we volunteer for one hour, one day or we make an ongoing commitment, we can make a difference. The positive effect on our community, our profession and ourselves is limitless. We all have something to give - a strong back, our time or our talent. IPM salutes the many hard working volunteers who keep who keep our organization and many others across the country running smoothly every day.