5 best places to volunteer in Manitoba

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Many newcomers to Manitoba are new to the concept of volunteering. But as you become more familiar with Canadian culture, you will notice that volunteering is a common practice. You will also realize that you can benefit greatly from the experience. Aside from widening your network, learning new skills, and bolstering your resume, volunteering is good for your body and soul! Often, you will hear people say that volunteering helped them stay active, increased their confidence, and taught them to be more compassionate. (Read the article Why work for Free? The value of volunteering to learn more).

So if you’re ready to give it a try, here are some suggested places:

Your church or community centre

Your first stop should be your church or nearest community centre. These places are always looking for volunteers. You can assist in minor tasks such as greeting parishioners, helping out in the cleaning or upkeep of the church or centre, to more specialized work, such as coaching or counselling (centres), or perhaps teaching catechism classes. Giving back will provide you a greater sense of belonging to the community and it is the fastest way to get to know your neighbours and gain friends.

  • How to volunteer: Check out community bulletins and announcements or visit your nearest community centre. Approach your parish priest, minister or church leader and ask how you can help.
  • You may need: This will depend on the nature of the work you are volunteering to do. For instance, if you will be working with young kids, you may need a Child Abuse Registry Check, but confirm this with the organization first. Some organizations apply for this document on your behalf, others don’t.

Aside from widening your network, learning new skills, and bolstering your resume, volunteering is good for your body and soul!

Your child’s school

Active parent involvement in school events and activities is always encouraged in schools. In this period of adjustment for your kids, it is a great confidence booster for them to see their parent/s involved in their school. Consider this also a great opportunity to meet your child’s teachers, as well as other parents. It is in this circle that you will get to learn valuable nuggets of wisdom about parenting. If you are working full-time, consider volunteering for after-school events. If you are a stay-at-home parent, you can offer to be a once a week lunch monitor, or perhaps, chaperone for a field trip.

  • How to volunteer: The school usually sends out notes or emails to ask if you are willing to volunteer for an event, program or activity. You can also speak to your child’s teacher or principal and offer your help. Your proactive gesture will surely be appreciated!
  • You may need: to bake a few goodies, or bring some needed supplies. However, many volunteer opportunities require just your presence and assistance for some logistical tasks, or patience and watchful guidance when minding the kids. Read these articles for some do’s and don’ts: Volunteering in the classroom and the Do’s and don’ts for volunteering at your child’s school.

Immigrant associations or settlement organizations

Who better to help newcomers than a fellow newcomer? Your understanding of immigrant needs will come in handy for this type of work. Opportunities range from set-up and clean-up duties to assisting in literacy or cultural integration programs.

Your advocacy or favorite charitable institution

This is your chance to walk the talk! If you have a soft spot for mistreated animals, try local pet rescue shelters or the Humane Society. If you want to serve the needy, volunteer at Winnipeg Harvest (they also offer training). Passionate about the arts? Here are volunteer opportunities from ACI Manitoba.

  • How to volunteer: Search for opportunities on the organization’s website or through Volunteer Manitoba. Kijiji, Indeed, and other job sites that advertise volunteer opportunities all year round.
  • You may need: to fill-out a form and attend an orientation. Some organizations may require a resume.

Organizations or agencies related to your profession

If you are keen on honing your skills for professional development, you may be interested in these opportunities. Volunteers in Public Service is a government program for those who are interested in acquiring Canadian experience in career-related positions in provincial government departments and agencies. Some professional associations also offer volunteer opportunities to their members (and even non-members), like the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Manitoba.

  • How to volunteer: Check with your local chapter, or for regulated professions, your association’s website. You can also search for opportunities at Volunteer Manitoba.
  • You may need: To fill-out a form and/or craft a resume.

The key to volunteering is knowing your priorities and budgeting your time. You must keep in mind that people depend on your contribution, so honor your commitments. The best way to maximize your experience as a volunteer is to do the work to the best of your abilities, willingly, and with a smile.

It would also be a good idea to encourage your teeners to get out and volunteer, especially in the summer months to make good use of their free time.

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Community Resources

Check this site for volunteer opportunities in the City of Winnipeg.

Here is a variety of apprenticeship, volunteer and career opportunities at Manitoba.ca.

Read this article: “Volunteering and its surprising benefits” from Helpguide.org to inspire you more.

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