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The Smiles are Worth It

Plenty of opportunities - and rewards - await those who choose to volunteer in the university neighbourhoods and beyond.

Why volunteer? A bonus about living on a university campus is the wide variety of volunteering opportunities.

Volunteering can help both a person and their community. Contributing to the community is a rite of passage to improve individual mental health, work environments, build better social connections and opportunities for personal growth.

There are many volunteering opportunities at community centres on campus, ranging from Neighbours Day and Halloween events to movie nights and birthday parties. Yearly, the Apple Festival at UBC Botanical Garden is a go-to place for volunteers who enjoy the autumn festivities. There are also opportunities for university students with UBC’s Alma Mater Society.

Volunteering in the community can provide valuable experience in fields such as education, art, and journalism—for example, The Campus Resident. At Vancouver Public Library, groups of teen volunteers advise librarians on services and promote library benefits.

Many people also volunteer to create a positive impact on society and the environment by fostering a sense of community and organizing collective efforts toward change.

Canadians who have committed to helping others have made a significant difference in assisting communities develop, while along the way learning valuable lessons and new skills. Without volunteers, many events and services wouldn’t happen.

Volunteering sometimes can be gruelling—long hours selling pies, cutting apples or face-painting. At this point, I’ve painted hundreds of unicorns on kids’ faces. But yet in the endless repetition, the result is ever satisfying to see the smiles that light up kids’ eyes when they look in the mirror and see their faces. I volunteer for the things that I care about and am willing to put effort into it, considering what I give back to the community.

I can participate in volunteering to bring the neighbourhood together, fostering belonging. So the next time you’re at a community or local event, say hello to the working volunteers and think about trying it for yourself! Consider how many new faces you might meet.


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