Welcome to my second action post of this cycle. Let’s get right into it…
1.) Provide a summary of the action you are planning and how are you going to start.
For those of you who have been following along with my posts, you may remember that I did an action project for my work as leader of Project HELLO, a club at Dr Charles Best Secondary focused on reconnecting the families of those who live on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside. I really enjoyed reflecting on my work as club president, so I’ve decided to continue doing an action project. However, this time, I will be speaking on my work as a volunteer at the Britsh Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and Eagle Ridge Hospital. I’ve been volunteering at the animal shelter for almost a year now and the hospital for almost a year and a half. I will get into my roles and my tasks as volunteers in each location in a later post, but for now, I’ll provide a quick summary. At Eagle Ridge Hospital, my main goal is to improve the patient experience. I do this by interacting with the older adults of the manor, feeding patients, and aiding nurses with any help they require. As a volunteer at my local BCSPCA, I spend my time socializing with both cats and small animals, guaranteeing the wellbeing of all animals in the shelter, and maintaining the upkeep of the building through cleaning and organizational tasks.
2.) One lesson in the talk is that ‘Everything is complicated’. Can you explain some of the complexity that you will face in your action?
I really enjoyed listening to this talk another time. I believe it is very easy to get caught up in the surface-level “good” an action can provide without taking the time to consider the complexity in everything we do. Of course, in my volunteer jobs, there are complexities as well. For example, at the shelter, we, the volunteers, create bonds with the animals we spend time with. However, because each person only volunteers for a couple of hours a week, the animals are repeatedly forming and breaking attachments with humans. For a scared, lonely animal, this can prove to be frustrating and tiring. The same thing can happen in the hospital. Quite often, I sit down and have conversations with patients about their lives and their experience in and out of the hospital. It is extremely beneficial for both parties when these chats arrive; however, it can be hard when you know you will most likely never see the other person again. Nevertheless, I truly do believe that my action’s positive effects on the community outweigh its complexities.
3.) Is this action sustainable? Provide some specific examples to support your reasoning.
This question is a little tough to answer. Is it likely that I will volunteer at both these locations for an extended period of time? Probably not, if I’m going to be completely honest. Mostly because I am most likely moving away when I graduate high school and because I am soon becoming too old as these programs are intended for teenagers. However, I believe the connections and bonds I create with both humans and animals are sustainable for those specific individuals. A lot of the time, I feel like, with this action, I am not affecting a broad range or a group of people. But, I am affecting a singular person significantly which is extremely gratifying and humbling. It is this effect that I believe is sustainable.
4.) Is this action providing opportunity? How will you ensure you are making the positive impact that you intend?
Like I mentioned above, the Eagle Ridge Hospital volunteer program is intended for teenagers. So, as I am turning eighteen very soon, I will need to give up my spot and allow it to be filled by another high school student. This in itself creates opportunity. Furthermore, in my previous post, I received a comment from another Butterfly Effect-or saying that she is looking into volunteering at these two locations, so she is looking forward to reading my action posts to learn more about each job. This was very cool for me to read as I obtained direct feedback that someone is truly taking something out of my cycle which is always nice to hear. But, where I am going with this is the simple action (no pun intended) of me writing down my experiences and the work I complete as a volunteer can very well encourage others to take a role in their community and do the same. I believe this is an extremely positive impact – one that provides opportunity and is sustainable.
At each location, I have a volunteer coordinator who looks after each teenager and gives us advice and feedback when needed. At the animal shelter, I actually have two coordinators: Diane and Dianne. Diane is also the assistant manager at the branch and she started off as a volunteer herself. Dianne has a background in animal care and she is the branch manager. At the hospital, the coordinator is Carmen. She has provided me with a lot of help throughout my time as a volunteer at Eagle Ridge – whether it be feedback on how to improve the patient experience or just a listening ear in terms of my struggles as a volunteer. All three of these women are fully equipped to be my mentors for this action.
Thank you for reading everyone! I hope you learned a little more about why I do what I do. I can’t wait to explain more in my upcoming posts. 🙂