By Ray Ji
|"Volunteering for CICS allowed me to learn" – Ray Ji|
Volunteering for CICS allowed me to learn a lot of useful skills that I would not have been able to acquire within the bounds of school. I volunteered as a program assistant for the Saturday program where I took care of the front desk and helped translate for some students. I went on to volunteer for the Immigrant Youth Centre as another program assistant, but in a more active role. At IYC I would work with a single teacher and assist her and the students every day. I even had a chance to plan a lesson a few times!
Volunteering for CICS has blessed me with crucial communication skills and leadership abilities. Communicating with both students and teacher alike, in English and Mandarin, I've learned how to express myself better and how to help others express themselves better as well.
For teens that are reading this on the CICS website and haven't volunteered yet, DO IT. It's a great way to gain work experience which is something you definitely need if you ever wish to work part time. Volunteering also paves the way for many connections you wouldn't be able to acquire anywhere else. Think about it, it's a win-win situation. You get your 40 or so hours to graduate AND you make connections, get work experience, LEARN, etc. And why stop at the required amount needed to graduate? Universities will sometimes look at the number of hours you have and give you a grade boost based on that. Some scholarships are also based on the amount of volunteer hours you have. Volunteering is also a great place to obtain references for a good resume and a great place to make friends since there will be other teens volunteering. Universities will also "like" it if you volunteer somewhere that's related to the field that you're going into. Really, there is no down side to volunteering, so WHY WAIT?
I am truly grateful for the opportunities that were given and the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards that was awarded me.