Who here attended the Fall Work day? Let me ask a clearer question: Who here attended the Fall Work day to get a passing grade at a first-year course, and never thought about it again? I’ll be first to admit, I was one of those people.
After finishing my first year at TWU, the workload kept piling up higher each year. I drank more coffee, I started having migraines, I tried to quit coffee but than the midterms came… and you know the rest of the story.
Despite all my existing excuses, I had a blank space I was failing to fill in my heart. At times, you need to fill somebody else’s cup to fill your own.
I bet you do remember the feeling when you handed in a cup of soup to a homeless person on Christmas eve or opened your home to someone that doesn’t have family on thanksgiving. If you ever experienced the feeling I am talking about, there is a good chance you will never forget it.
On September 23rd, I was in Willoughby Hall filled with so many loving people for a ‘Meet and Greet’ Event ran by the Langley Volunteers. Langley Volunteers was formed on November 2016, so they are a relatively new organization.
As Karen Long, who is an executive member explained, the Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce wanted to see if there was interest in a volunteer organization in the city of Langley.
The organization operates as ‘Langley Volunteers Bureau’, however, they operate as Langley Volunteers. As Karen says, the name reflects “active and eager people”, as they are. Their goal is search for volunteers in the places that the organizations are unable to reach.
Karen describes the situation as, “It is an iceberg!”. When they first started, they had no idea they would bring such a big impact to the community.
When I asked her how they could accomplish this in such a short time she answered, “We are different in a way that instead of volunteer opportunities that are on-going, you can prefer short-term or one event opportunities and we make it possible for you”.
Maybe this is what Langley as a community has been missing. I am a student, so I have limited time between 5 courses, assignments, and work. As long as you have the love in your heart, it will call you to spread it for the good. And, a bridge between me and the organization I want to invest my time in, could help for sure.
Karen explained, “We are both interested in people that have experience and no experience. They might have no experience, but they still want to help in their communities, and they are friendly and social”. I thought, well, this sounds like me.
Let me take you to a distant memory. I was about 15 years old the first time I volunteered in a partnership with a disabled children organization. I was old enough to understand many things, but I was ignorant to realities of the child next to me had.
I cared whether my parents were going to buy me that expensive backpack that everyone had in the middle school for Christmas. The child next to me, just cared whether his fathers’ paycheck would be enough for his sisters’ school uniform and the food they would eat for the month.
It was an event that paired me, and a boy with disabilities. All I needed to do was be a friend to him for the day and give him a gift if I could afford it.
Believe me, after seeing the look on his face, all I wanted to do was to save my 10$ pocket money for the week and get him a gift for the next year. I wanted to be this little guy’s best friend. His reality, became my reality too.
Make me a match,
Find me a find,
catch me a catch
Look through your book,
And make me a perfect match”
It might be hard to reach out the people in need individually, but organizations can become a helping hand to make the connection. Langley Volunteers call themselves “Matchmakers”, “When they contact us, we ask them to complete an application then we try to be the matchmaker between them and the non-profit organization”.
Karen specifically addressed, ages 16 and over can participate in volunteering depending on their interests, and if transportation is an issue, they are able to narrow options down to a specific region. She added, “University students can look for opportunities that would enhance their profession”.
When volunteering, to find something you are passionate for is also a good opportunity to network and prove skills. There are many different events like the Alzheimer’s Walk for Memories. You might have a grandparent that had Alzheimer’s and would find it meaningful to help in the event.
Langley Volunteers have contributed a significant help to the Fall Workdays that Trinity Western students participated in, and they stated that they are looking forward to collaborating with TWU.
Why should you be taking this opportunity? Why should you be looking for opportunities to help others? There is the cliché. Yes, you can put it on your resume. But, you and I know, life is much more complex than just a resume.
Sometimes we are just too caught up with our own lives that we forget how lucky we are. Those are the times that you need to stop and think. What is it in my heart I am forgetting to fulfill?
I have seen so many community members in the Willoughby Hall ready to put their hearts into this. We, as the TWU community, should be eager to grow love and ease the struggles of the ones in need, too.
When I met the little boy on that Christmas eve… It wasn’t just a ‘Hi’. The smiles translated into ‘I am here for you’, and the goodbye gave a promise ‘I will be here for you’. You are able to promise that, and much more to someone. Take your chance.
This post was submitted for grading purposes to MCOM 352A, Trinity Western University.