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Express your values by volunteering


There are many legitimate and varied reasons to volunteer. All of them good.


It appears things in our world are very different from what they used to be. Some might say that Covid changed us forever. Some say that things changed everywhere in 2016 with the election of the 45th president of the US. Others are aware of the catastrophic effects of climate change. Global politics. Local politics. Pandemics. Freedom rallies. Wars and invasions. It can all feel overwhelming. And sometimes hopeless.


A great way to combat some of that “what good can I do?” kind of thinking is volunteering!

Think of a value that is important to you. Think of a problem that you’d like to solve within that value. Then investigate how you can put that solution into action. It doesn’t have to be overly complicated.


Example 1:

Important personal value:

Animal rights.


Problem to solve:

Perhaps you are concerned with a local issue. You may be concerned with the animals or conditions in a local zoo.


Help a little (microvolunteering)

  • Connect with a group that is already working towards the goal of better conditions for the animals or getting some moved to a sanctuary. Join the group. Share their social media posts.

  • Wear their shirts, display their stickers, etc.


Help a bit more (episodic volunteering)

  • Write letters to local councillors expressing your concerns or to larger organizations that are on the same page as you.

  • Attend rallies, peaceful protests, fundraising events, etc.

Help even more (ongoing volunteering)

  • Offer your services as a graphic designer, event organizer, or see where else your skills can be utilized within an animal rights group.

Example 2:

Important personal value:

An inclusive society


Problem to solve:

Eliminating racism.


Help a little (microvolunteering)

  • Wear t-shirts stating your values

  • Share social media posts.

  • Learn about how to be a true ally

Help a bit more (episodic volunteering)

  • Attend/volunteer at fundraising events

  • Attend rallies and awareness-raising events

Help even more (ongoing volunteering)

  • Volunteer with an organization that supports newcomers by teaching English

  • Volunteer to mentor a newcomer

  • Connect with a group that raises awareness of racism – utilize your skills in a way that is helpful to them (virtually or in-person)

Example 3:

Important personal value:

The environment


Problem to solve:

Preventing climate change.


Help a little (microvolunteering)

  • Follow environmental organizations and groups social media pages – share their posts

Help a bit more (episodic volunteering)

  • Volunteer at a garbage clean-up in your community

  • Help at a tree-planting event

Help even more (ongoing volunteering)

  • Volunteer with an organization that is committed to reducing waste, pollution, etc.

  • Start (or help out at) a community garden

  • Volunteer for habitat protection

  • Volunteer with an organization that promotes awareness and education

Other causes you may want to consider volunteering for in order to express your values:

  • Political parties (elections always take many volunteers)

  • 2SLGBTQ+

  • Truth and reconciliation

  • Inclusion, and eliminating ableism for people with disabilities

  • Women’s groups that reduce misogyny

  • Whatever matters to you and is for the betterment of the community

You can do as much or as little as you’d like. It all counts for the greater good. You can always try microvolunteering first then move on to episodic volunteering (one-time events or short-term tasks), then if you want, you can get involved more as you feel more comfortable doing so. Or not. Either way, you’re acting on your values, and when our behaviour matches our values, we feel less helpless, overwhelmed and more in control of situations we sometimes feel we have no control. It’s a good feeling.

To learn more about how to get started volunteering, read here.




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