By Christine Fournier
Volunteering has many benefits that should not be ignored like a sense of accomplishment and pride, learning valuable skills, spending time with like-minded people and giving back to others who need it. Being a volunteer is fun but most of all it is rewarding in ways never imagined.
Volunteering should be an important aspect of anyone's life. Many people rely on the work done by countless volunteers through a large variety of organizations that the city has to offer. Were it not for the hard work done by these dedicated people, it could mean hardship for a lot of people, for example 500,000 people are helped by Centraide in the greater Montreal area each year. Through other charitable organizations money is raised for medical research, people gain an awareness of social issues, animals get rescued and adopted, children are mentored as well as many other causes which benefit from volunteerism.
Whether you are new to a city or not, lending a hand with one of the many organizations in the city is a good way to meet people and contribute to improving the city's quality of life. Volunteer opportunities can be found in many areas such as community services, health and medicine, justice and legal, libraries, poverty, animal rescue, education or victim services, just to name a few.
The bureau was set up in 1937 by the Junior League. Its purpose is to serve as a central volunteer bureau for the city of Montreal, though originally it was meant to get women involved in community services. Prospective volunteers meet with one the bureau's counsellors for a short interview before being placed with organizations that suit their interests and abilities.
This federation was set up in 1972 by the government to bring together over a hundred volunteer centers in Quebec. Their website was recently set up through a provincial government program and offers links to the many volunteer bureaus in the province as well as information on different programs and a store that sells book to help associations with their missions and a few products such as pins or cards. At this time the site is in French only.
This website is a hub of resources for people who are relocating to Canada. It offers information on a variety of issues and categories that are important when moving to a new country. The material is sorted by categories as well as by 50 cities located throughout the country. The Montreal page offers a link to volunteer services that can be found in the city.
This program was set up to promote the concept of learning through community service amongst young people between the ages of 17 and 21. It is an intense six-month program where a group of 10 youth travel to one or two different regions and volunteer with different organizations. At this time they offer four different theme programs and though the program is not free for participants the costs are minimal.
Student Volunteer Opportunities
Most universities and CEGEPs have volunteer programs for their students through student-run clubs opening the doors to many organizations both on and off campus.
Centraide comes to the aid of people who are having problems because they have been hit by poverty. It raises millions of dollars annually to help those in need.
Their mission is to help animals by taking in neglected, abandoned and exploited animals; raising awareness and educate the public as well as responding, investigating and prosecuting cases of animal cruelty.
This non-profit organization builds simple, decent and affordable housing by partnering with people in need and teaching them responsible home ownership.
Father Emmett Johns, fondly known as Pops, founded this community-based organization in 1988. Dans La Rue works with street-kids and at-risk youth between the age of 12 to215 through outreach and education programs.