This week is my final week at Brock University, the place that has been my second home for the last four years. As you can imagine I’m feeling all sorts of emotions right now; happy, sad, excited, nervous, anxious… you name it I’m probably feeling it.
During this past year I volunteered at the Community Care Access Centre every Monday morning. Initially, I began to volunteer because I thought it would help boost my resumé. But today, on my final day, I realized that, that is not why I was doing it.
This volunteer experience has brought me some of my most rewarding experiences of this school year. Even though I only worked in the clothing room where I help sort clothes and bag peoples findings up, I learned some valuable lessons and skills that I will carry with me into my future adventures.
1. Never take anything for granted
Many people that use the Community Care Access Centre don’t have much. Some people come in looking for a pillow because they don’t even have that. Sometimes we have some, and sometimes we don’t. You know how hard it is telling someone we don’t have a pillow to give to them, knowing that I have four pillows sitting on my bed at home, 3 of which I don’t even use. Point is count your blessings, even if it is just a pillow.
2. The most important lesson isn’t learned from a textbook
Coming from someone who is currently in the process of getting a University Degree, sometimes the most intelligent people are not the ones who go to University. Sometimes the most valuable lesson can’t be taught in a lecture hall. The most important life lessons, are the lessons that we learn from our struggles in life.
3. Developing meaningful relationships
I worked with the same ladies every week, and working with them over the course of a year I developed a relationship with them. All these ladies were much older, and most of them had children and grand children. Despite the age difference between these ladies and myself, we were able to have fun, and laugh, which was a huge factor in having a great experience with volunteering at the community care access centre. Surround yourself with individuals that share similar interests, values and beliefs as you, no matter what life stage they may be in.
4. The reward of helping others
I don’t think there was one Monday that went by that I didn’t feel satisfied after my shift. People that come to the Community Care Access Centre typically do not have a lot. Helping people find what they need whether it be a shirt, dress pants, blankets, pillows, or winter coat, is more satisfying than you think. When peoples gratitude is physically visible, its the best feeling knowing you contributed to them feeling that way. Giving someone your time to help them and have a conversation with them, can be more beneficial then we may realize.
You may be wondering, this is great but what does this have to do with health? Well actually this has everything thing to do with health. The Community Care Access Centre not only helps people in need, but it brings the community together. It gives people a sense of belonging, and it reminds people that someone cares.
Never underestimate the power of helping someone, so take care because I care 🙂