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Who to Volunteer For and Why: Our Top 5 Non-Profit Organizations

One Big Movement - Dominican Republic 2010

Wanting to give back to the community and get involved but don’t know where to start? There are so many volunteer opportunities out there and it can definitely be overwhelming on where to start looking.

If you’re passionate about creating positive change in the community, you will soon realize that your passion can potentially empower others to get involved. I, myself have become a self-proclaimed volunteer addict and I really can’t help but continuously find different organizations to be involved with. It’s my passion, and I have come to realize that when you’re passionate about something, you can’t wait for tomorrow because of the work that’s ahead of you. Here are my Top 5 Non-profit organizations to volunteer for and why you should get involved:

1. Live Different – Hero Holiday

Live Different is a federally incorporated Canadian charity which focuses on getting students involved in volunteering in Third World countries. Students have the opportunity to get first-hand experience in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Haiti or Thailand and participate in humanitarian relief projects to assist those living in extreme poverty. I had the opportunity to volunteer for their Hero Holiday program in July 2010 in the Dominican Republic, and I can truly say, this is where I discovered my purpose and passion in life. Live life to the fullest and appreciate what you have, as your family, your friends and your community have helped raise you to become the individual that you are today. If you love to travel, and you want to take your volunteer experience to the next level – get involved with Live Different.

2. Union Gospel Mission 

While Joseph and Mercedes had the opportunity to serve meals for the homeless at the Union Gospel Mission Resource Centre, Joseph and I had a wonderful chat with the Assistant Manager, Harvey Froment who taught us what was really needed in Vancouver. While the issue of poverty and homelessness in the Downtown East Side is prevalent, education and developing literacy skills for immigrants is highly needed. If you’re background is in Education or English, get involved in UGM and apply your classrooom skills into real life situations, as your help can better someone’s life.

3. Salvation Army

As the largest non-profit organization in Canada, the great thing about the Salvation Army is that there are so many branches available across Canada. Joseph and I even had the opportunity to speak to Miriam Leslie, the Program and Volunteer Coordinator for The Salvation Army Vancouver Community & Family Services about the Big Baby Drive and got great feedback on our goals for One Big Movement. The Salvation Army is incredibly supportive of student-led initiatives as we have found with the success of The Big Book Drive, and if you’re particularly keen on addressing poverty, The Salvation Army is the place to go.

4. YWCA Metro Vancouver 

As you all may know, One Big Movement has partnered with YWCA Metro Vancouver for The Big Baby Drive to assist low-income mothers in obtaining the essential supplies they need for their babies. YWCA Metro Vancouver strives to improve the quality of life and standard of living for all women and their families and offers various programs for empowerment and mentorship. Being raised by a single-mother myself, I have always been passionate about helping other single mothers- which led to my goal for organizing The Big Baby Drive. YWCA Metro Vancouver has currently listed volunteer opportunities for high school mentors and youth programs so check them out now, and find your passion in helping those in need.

5. Big Brothers Big Sisters

After getting involved in SIFE Simon Fraser and meeting the most talented and incredible people in university, I have learned to realize how lucky I am to be in school. So many youths struggle to feel motivated to stay in school or realize their potential by completing their high school education or even consider pursuing post-secondary education. Becoming a Big Brother or Big Sister can help motivate and empower youths to follow their dreams, and you can help pave a child’s path for their future success.

So there you have it! Get involved and become a volunteer addict like me, and who knows, you may meet some incredible people like Mercedes and Joseph, who I have the privilege of working with- because they’re just volunteer-crazy as I am.

Best of luck to you all on all your volunteer success and help make the world a happier place- One movement at a time.


About the Author

Lynn is a go-getter, a strong believer in good karma and lives life to the fullest! Passionate in helping others, Lynn has seen poverty first-hand in the Dominican Republic and can’t help but do something about tackling poverty in her own community. As Ghandi once said, “Be the change you want to see in the world”—nothing can be solved if one just sits and stares!
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