Celebrating the volunteer spirit on International Volunteer Day
Today is International Volunteer Day, an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the contributions of volunteers across the country. Volunteers are the roots of our organization. Without their commitment and hard work, most of what we do wouldn’t be possible. No matter how you get involved, we want to thank you!
Volunteering is an excellent way to make a difference in the lives of others. It’s an opportunity to join a diverse group of dedicated people all working towards a single goal – helping improve the lives of Canadians living with kidney disease.
However, volunteering also comes with a whole set of other benefits, as well, whether that’s feeling a sense of purpose or acquiring new skills for your career. We spoke with two volunteers to gather their thoughts on what keeps them motivated.
Craig Lindsay has been volunteering for the past three years, doing everything from peer support at the Scarborough Hospital, helping with The Kidney Foundation’s Scarborough Kidney Walk and sitting on various committees for provincial organizations.
Just four years earlier, Craig’s kidneys failed. As a newly-diagnosed patient, Craig started participating in the local peer support program. That life experience provided him the motivation to get involved in the group.
“I felt an obligation to help that new wave of patients,” Craig said. “You hope that your experiences can benefit others, and others can learn from the mistakes you’ve made.”
Craig says that his devotion to continue volunteering is born out of an obligation he feels due to the support he felt when first diagnosed.
“For me, I still have kidney disease. The peer support program served as an emotional support that I felt I needed,” he said. “Now I can return that and model my behaviour based on that. I like to see others coping well with kidney disease.”
Christina Paruag is volunteering with The Kidney Foundation while she completes her degree in Medical Physics. She started volunteering in high school and has been with the Foundation for about a month. She decided to work with the Foundation after dealing with the pain of a series of kidney infections and is inspired by helping others who deal with that pain on a daily basis.
“I feel good when I help someone else,” Christina said. “I feel like I’m accomplishing something when I volunteer.”
Christina is preparing to apply for graduate school. She understands that beyond giving back, volunteering also helps to develop skills and meet new people, especially for young people interested in getting involved.
“I think it would help in applying to programs, if you’re a high school student going to university or if you’re in university and want to do a Master’s, it’s an advantage,” she said. “You earn communication skills, business skills, get exposed to the health sector and you can make connections.”
The Kidney Foundation of Canada is always looking for volunteers. To see if there’s an opportunity to become involved, click here or contact Megan Heeney at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1.800.387.4474 ext. 4979.