Why I Volunteer

People often ask me why I volunteer. The conversation usually goes something like this:

Them: “How is working at Museum London?”

Me: “I don’t work there, but I’ve been volunteering with Museum Underground for over 4 years.”

Them: *silence*. Oh… why?

It all started with Museum Underground in 2011 where I met a handful of amazing go-getters and changemakers who I’m now so lucky to call my friends. Those friends put their whole selves into planning and being a part of art events and music festivals so I jumped into those things too, because…

  1. I see the value in what they’re doing.
  2. It sounds COOL.
  3. I get hangout with friends.
  4. I get to put what I’m great at to good use—a greater sense of purpose.
  5. I love helping the people and places I care deeply about.

To me, volunteering doesn’t take away from precious Netflix time and it sure isn’t boring. When I finished 7 years of post-secondary school and was looking for a job, the thought of not belonging to something (which up until age 25 was school and a ton of extracurriculars) was scary. I was going to be an island. What would I do with my time and energy? I wanted to be part of something bigger than me and contribute to the city’s arts community. That’s the trick about a happy volunteering experience—you need to find an opportunity that suits you.

It is all too easy to stand on the sidelines and wait for the world around you to be how you want it to be. To me it’s not about what places are doing right or wrong; it’s about the people. It’s about creating and sharing meaningful experiences with and for the creative community; and for me, that is the defining factor of why I volunteer. It’s that converging of people that gradually defines a community and makes the place you live and work also the place you want to stay and play in.

An obvious bonus with volunteering with cool places and events is that I get to hangout with my bright, innovative pals too! (Sometimes, there is even beer and candy at the table). Over time, acquaintances have turned into friends and we all motivate and inspire each other. That part is invaluable.

So, that’s why I volunteer—for new experiences, friendship and making a difference even on the smallest of scales—for me, for you and hopefully for something grander that will outlast both of us.

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