Action Post #6: Metamorphosis

Hey again everyone!

I’m back for my final post for my action cycle and possibly my last post ever for Social Responsibility. Wow…crazy to think about…anyway, let’s get started!

As a reminder for those who might not know what my action project is about, I wrote about my work as a volunteer at the Britsh Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (BCSPCA) and Eagle Ridge Hospital (ERH). I was not actively volunteering during most of this cycle because of COVID-19, so I took this action as a chance to reflect on my work done over the past year and a half.

What challenges did you overcome throughout this project?
I overcame many challenges with each volunteer position. At ERH, I had to find ways to engage residents of the manor without being forceful and pushy, feed those who need feeding in a respectful manner, and dealing with the fact that a lot of the relationships you make one week may not be there when you return the following week as the residents with dementia and/or Alzheimer’s may not remember you. At the BCSPCA, time-management and finding balance were the main challenges. There are a lot of cleaning/organizational tasks that the volunteers need to take care of, but there would also be instances where we had so much to do that we don’t really get to spend time with the animals in a shift. It’s hard to say which task is more important (animal time vs cleaning time), so figuring out a balance was key to a successful shift.
How did you go about overcoming these challenges?
I needed experience to find my own strategies to overcome these challenges. At ERH, I learned over time that not everyone would like to all the time and that if someone is unwilling to have a conversation, its best to let them have some alone time instead of forcing them to engage with you. For feeding, I found that the best way to be respectful and effective is to ask questions before doing any task; whether it be cutting up food, opening up packets, or spoon-feeding, I would ask the resident if I should do a specific action which allows the person to still have control in the situation. As for the BCSPCA, I learned that communication and delegation are very powerful tools. Instead of taking on all the work for myself, I realized that asking other volunteers and/or staff members to help me with tasks was a great way to keep me from being overwhelmed and allow me to also spend time with the animals.
How did this action change the way you think?
This action allowed me to reflect on my work done as a volunteer and realize that even an impact on one person is significant. Whether it was a quick chat during dinner with a resident or the animal I experimented with types of food with until I found one they like or even the nurses whose binders I sanitized, I know that my volunteer jobs impacted people and that caused change. This action changed the way I think by allowing me to appreciate small impacts and value them just as much as big ones.
How did this investigation impact your future decisions?
This investigation really inspired me to continue on with my volunteer work. I was debating stopping volunteering all together after I graduate, but after taking the time to reflect on these experiences and what I’ve learned from each one, I now better understand the value of volunteering in my own life and the lives of others. This investigation has truly shown me different perspectives which I now must consider for my future decisions.
What impact will this investigation have on others locally and/or globally?
When I posted my project plan, I had several people reach out to me saying that they are interested in volunteering at the same positions and really look forward to hearing what I have to say. Even before this investigation, when I first started volunteering, several of my friends reached out to me, wondering if they could volunteer as well. So, I believe that my action project can impact others both locally and globally in the same way: providing insight on what it means to be a volunteer, showing current volunteers how important their work truly is, and encouraging others to take the first step to become a volunteer if it interests them.
That’s all for this post! Thanks for reading! Feel free to leave questions and comments below!

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