By: Jing Zhao

The Office of Skills Development and Learning hosted the UPEI Community Connector Volunteer Fair on October 6th, 2015, in McMillan Hall in the W.A. Murphy Centre. There were various organizations that showed up as part of the event to welcome students and staff, and to encourage them to join as volunteers. Career counsellor Jo Cullen explained that the aims of this volunteer fair were helping students to find out what they are interested in and to gain some wonderful experiences through volunteering with likeminded organizations. Moreover, these experiences are better for their future career prospects, which help to decide what they will do in the future. In today’s world, resume-building is a requirement.

The Volunteer Fair was also the first exposure of VP Student Life Nathan Hood’s Volunteer List. Informally conceptualized as ‘Volun-tinder’, the Volunteer List is designed to act as a matchmaker between students and volunteer organizations based on shared interests. Volunteers will fill out a form detailing their areas of interests, for example, social justice. Organizations will also fill out a form detailing what their volunteer opportunity entails, both in subject and action. The profiles gathered from the forms will then be run through a computer program developed by ITSS, the University’s technical services, in consultation with Hood, to find matches, who will then be alerted to the opportunity. The Cadre reached out to VP Hood for a comment. He responded, “I’m really excited for the Volunteer List because it will make meaningful volunteer opportunities more accessible to students, especially those students who may not be from PEI and thus are not as familiar with the community.”

If you missed out on the Volunteer Fair you can always sign up for the Volunteer List. If, however, you are interested in just what types of organizations were at the Volunteer Fair, and want some idea of the options available to you, the Cadre has compiled a list of each of the programs present at the event, as well as a brief description of what they do, and their contact information.

The S.M.I.L.E. PEI program is designed to help kids who participate in special education programs. Volunteers in this program will promote physical activities including on gymnasium and aquatic instructions in UPEI. The director of program welcomes UPEI students to join the programs and give a hand to children. Those interested in more details can contact amyshepherd78@gmail.com.

The Arthritis Society is Canada’s principal health charity, aiming to create a future without arthritis. Volunteers could develop new skills, interests and know more knowledge about arthritis, then give it back to community. For more information can look through website: http://www.arthritis.ca/pei.

The PEI Association for Newcomers to Canada wants volunteers for its Community Inclusion Program and EAL [English as an Additional Language] tutor program. Both of these volunteering experiences will have you interacting with a newcomer, helping to support their integration into the community, either through supporting their acquisition of English, or just by meeting with them and providing them a broader support network in the community. For more information, you can contact ccp@peianc.com or (902) 628-6009.

Girl Guides of Canada (GGC) is organization committed to help girls develop leadership, as well as life, skills. Also, it provides girls with resources to achieve greatness. For volunteering, you can contact the Girl Guides at 1-800-565-8111, or visit website: girlguides.ca.

The Scouts Canada experience is aimed at adventure and discovering new things. The volunteer experience will have focus on outdoor, healthy living, building their leadership skills, and developing a view of environmental responsibility and respect. For detailed information, you can search website: http://www.scouts.ca.

Volunteering provides an opportunity where you both help others while also developing your own skills. Our Cadre writer saw just such a process at work when she met several students at the event. Three international students, Rosanna, Patricia, and Maria from Brazil, said that they really want to be volunteers because they are not only willing to help others, but because also volunteering experience helps them get involved in the Canadian social environment, as well as improve their English.