Tuesday, 4 September 2012


It's been some years now since I had to worry about the back-to-school countdown, but I still feel like September means business.  Vacations are over, we trade in shorts and tank-tops for fall layers (okay, sometimes that doesn't happen until October) and all things new begin. 

I may not be in school anymore, but I had a back-to-school countdown this year too.  Now that you've had 2 days of classes I hope the old routine has come back to you.  For those of you making the jump to high school this year, don't stress, the routine comes.

If you follow us on Facebook, you may have seen our countdown that shared 10 tips for successful volunteer experiences.  If you don't (you should), we're sharing them again here:

Volunteer Tips

10. Think about what you want to gain from volunteering - new skills, fun, a chance to contribute to a cause?

9. Ask questions.  Don't be afraid to ask questions as you go through the process of applying for an opportunity or once you've started volunteering.

8. Think about what you have to offer.  This includes your skills, abilities, talents and attitude.

7. Don't be discouraged.  Remember that everyone can volunteer, whatever your skills, experience or background you will find an opportunity.

6. If you don't find an opportunity you're passionate about, create one!

5. Do more than just 40 hours.  Volunteering can be a great additional to a post-secondary application or resume.

4. Really look for an opportunity, don't wait for someone to hand it to you.  Use the Sarnia Gives Search Tool at www.sarniagives.com

3. Show up!  You've made a commitment and people are counting on you so be there.

2. Make sure you confirm with your school that an activity is eligible for your 40 hour credit before you start.  If it's not, it might still be worth doing.

1. Just try it!  The most difficult part of volunteering can be making the first move, so be brave!

In my day we didn't have to complete 40 hours of community involvement activities, we just volunteered because it was fun.  I know that for many of you those 40 hours seem like one more thing added to the list of things you already need to do, but I want to tell you that they are so much more.  You will meet new people, learn new things and have some great experiences that you can't have doing anything else.  I encourage you to do more than 40 hours if you can!

If you're not sure where to start or how to find a volunteer opportunity that you can be excited about, use the Sarnia Gives Search Tool to get started (that's tip 4).  Sarnia Gives is here to help you be successful any way we can so feel free to call, email, Facebook or Tweet us with your questions.

Welcome back to school & happy volunteering!!