Amelie Beauchamp-Grandmaitre, a 21 year old graduate of the General Arts and Sciences Program at La Cité Collégiale has been volunteering with the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA) of Eastern Ontario since April 2010.
The Canadian Diabetes Association is a multifaceted organization whose work includes easing the financial burdens of people living with diabetes and encouraging government accountability. The organization is also involved in education and advocacy. She explains that she became involved with the support of her mother. The day after Amy finished school, she called Melanie Estable-Porter, Volunteer Development Coordinator and began working in the office the following day. Amy, a visually impaired person, was eager to “jump right into it and was determined to show people that even though I have daily challenges and do things differently, I can do just as good of a job as the next person in line.” It is no doubt that her positive attitude and determination have made Amy an invaluable volunteer.
As an office volunteer, Amy does basic office support tasks. She explains that she also does “some ‘ripping’ which means I will rip open packages of literature to be put on the shelves or I will tear pages of literature from the pad so that it is easier to quickly grab and hand out or place onto a display table.”
Volunteering, for Amy, has been a reciprocal relationship. While her volunteerism helps clients access information about diabetes and the CDA’s services, she explains that working in such a positive and friendly environment has helped build her confidence and self-esteem: “Volunteering also holds many benefits. You make friends when you volunteer, you may not think you’ll make any at first but you’d be surprised! Volunteering also gives you a sense of accomplishment, you’ll be on your way home and suddenly you’ll think “I did…” and go down a list of maybe six tasks you did and the thoughts usually finish with “I had a very productive day today!” The sense of accomplishment doesn’t always end there, however. I had a few opportunities to see what goes on at the other end of whatever project I had been working on and simply watching, or hearing people comment on how the event is going gives you a sense of accomplishment or even pride. You’ll smile to yourself, look around you at all of the people there and say to yourself “yeah! I helped make this happen!”
For Amy, volunteering isn’t only about building your own skills but also helping improve the lives of others. And she encourages other youth to “get out of their shells, ask around” and volunteer. She admits that it can seem like a daunting task, but “the opportunities are endless, however, you must make an effort and look for them. And for those who are uncertain about volunteering solely on their own, see if a friend would like to tag along for the ride.”
Article by: Julie Ehrhardt
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