Volunteer Your Time

This post will be discussing volunteering and what that can mean.

PASSION FOR EVENTS

After my first posts, I want to shift the concentration on something else. To my passion for events. Since I was a little kid, I have always wanted to organize everything, even my mind works that way, always organizing things in my head into their rightful place. Since then, I have gotten the love for events. I have always enjoyed making people happy and smile, and that is what I feel events are. Us creating experiences to the audience and bringing a smile to their face. My dream since a little girl has been to work in Formula 1 one day, (in what capacity, I don’t know), but I still believe that dream to be possible.

INTRODUCTION TO VOLUNTEER WORK

I have been lucky as I have been able to be part of organizing events since my university years. There was a little less of them for a little while, as I had to work nine to five work to be able to support myself and my daughter. But was able to get back to what I love the most. I was lucky to get some help from my Canadian family to be able to go to school in Canada for event management. I had done events in the past, but the one-year program brought a lot of different experiences to me, and definitely more theory and knowledge that I was not aware of. I was also introduced to this thing called VOLUNTEERING. I remember being in the class, and was asked where I had volunteered in the past… I said nowhere… (since doing volunteer work) was not a very common thing to do back in the day in Finland… I was not part of any sports team, where for example we would have had fundraisers, or anything like that, so the concept to me was new (If you have been part of sport group, it is very likely you have already done a lot of volunteer work). I was told, I would have to volunteer as much as possible, that would be sometimes the only way to get to be part of event, and that would be looked at sometimes more than actual work experience. But little did I know what that would really mean to me…

Volunteer work is a good way to help, meet new people and participate in something that is important to you.

PAN AM GAMES

I volunteered first for some local events around the area where I was living in and remember there being a lot of hype about these Pan Am Games (I had never heard of them as I was from Europe). To those who do not know (like me at the time), Pan Am Games are the world’s third-largest international multi-sport games. I heard that they would be big and would be a good idea to volunteer. So, I did send an application (as had 63,000 other as well, only a third got chosen). I am so happy that I did! I was able to be part of the ceremonies crew and I have to say, as an event person, this was truly a dream come true! Without going into more details, it was a once in a lifetime experience to be part of such big ceremonies, to be able to work alongside all those amazing people that have been doing the Olympic Ceremonies and to see it all come together, and all the work that went into it as well as all the friends I gained from that experience. It also got me hooked to this volunteering thing, I volunteered at the Toronto International Film Festival after that, got to volunteer at the World Juniors Ice Hockey competitions and many more.

NOT JUST EVENTS ARE FOR VOLUNTEERING

When I moved to Finland, I noticed, that there was some increase on this usage of volunteers in events, but still is not that big here… but how lucky am I, that now, we have the Women’s Ice Hockey Championships here in Finland and I will get to be part of them as well? Volunteering to me, has given me an opportunity work in events that I would have never ever even dreamt of being part of, but volunteering is not just for events. You can volunteer in all kinds of places. Volunteer work is something that is supported in Canada by a lot of employers. They offer an employee a possibility to go and give a day to the community through volunteering, (maybe to go help at the local shelter for a day, help at a local food bank etc.) and still get paid for your actual work, it is a paid day off. Maybe this is something that could become part of your work place? This also is good PR for the company.

I am bringing this up as this is something, that any company can do, give a day to go help in the community or match a donation made by employee for a charity of their choice and to show this way, that they do care about the community and the people in it. Again, not all things have to be big, little things add up and can bring so much joy. Nothing beets the feeling you get from doing something good and being part of something.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES IN FINLAND

Did you know that you can volunteer at a Reuse Centre? There are many hands-on activities for volunteers in the Reuse Centre’s shops and sorting centre, which really contribute in reusing items and reducing the burden on environment. There are both regular and one-off activities. For more information about volunteering at a Reuse Centre, please follow this link.

Even if you are a newcomer to the country: anyone, regardless of their age, place of residence, gender, race, or other qualities can do volunteer work according to their abilities, schedules, and resources. Volunteering is very valuable for individuals and the community. Volunteer work enhances communal trust and social capital which are also the bases of economic development in the society. Volunteer work is where both the volunteer and the target gain something. Volunteers learn new skills, experience joy, meet new people, get new experiences, and are even empowered by volunteering. In Finland, volunteers help prevent loneliness and social exclusion, promote arts and culture, organize sports club activities, keep nature and the environment clean, and promote the well-being of people and animals in many ways. If you are interested in volunteering, here is helpful link where to get started.

Happy Volunteering!

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