I’m back for step #5 of my action! The last one before my metamorphosis! My last cycle ever! Can you believe it? Wow…alright, let’s get started!
Description of process
Well, starting from the very beginning I had to apply to each volunteer location (BCSPCA and Eagle Ridge Hospital aka ERH). I did this by filling out a form and dropping it off at each location. Then, after a while, I was called back for an interview. After each interview, I was contacted saying that I had been approved to volunteer! I attended some learning seminars and training sessions and finally began volunteering. I’ve been volunteering at the animal shelter for almost a year now and the hospital for almost a year and a half, but have stopped volunteering since March because of COVID-19. For more of what my responsibilities were at each location, check out my previous posts! Specifically, #3 and #4.
In my very second post, I explained that my mentors for this action project are my volunteer coordinators, the people who give the volunteers advice and feedback when needed. At the animal shelter, I actually have two coordinators: Diane and Dianne. 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. During this action project, I actually did not consult them at any point, mostly because I was not an active volunteer. However, I have consulted each of them in the past. For example, I had reached out to Carmen before because I was having trouble connecting with some of the residents and engaging them in conversation. She suggested that I use my phone to show them pictures of different countries, landmarks, cities, etc., asking about what they’re interested in, and using technology to engage someone. At the BCSPCA, I have reached how to Dianne many times, asking her for help managing tasks or for advice on how to get everything done on time. She was very effective in helping me prioritize and even taking on some of my workload when she could to help me.
Research Phase – what you found as you went along.
I learned a lot as a volunteer at each location. Starting with ERH, I’d like to say that although I appreciate any opportunity to aid our hardworking nurses, I truly prefer when I spend time with those in the manor. Everyone has a story to tell and it is very enlightening to hear about so many different experiences from so many different perspectives. Unfortunately, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, dementia is very common within the elders in the hospital and I have had to adapt and adjust accordingly when interacting with these specific people. What this has taught me is arguably the most important lesson I have learned from my position as a volunteer – compassion over sympathy. When you are sympathetic to someone, you understand that they are hurting. When you are compassionate, you understand why they are hurting. From this, you become more effective in your goal of comforting and consoling those you are with which is definitely an important skill to have, no matter where you are. As for the BCSPCA, I learned a lot about time-management, delegation, and the importance of balancing your work. Although I preferred spending time with the animals, I knew that I should not focus my attention there as there were much more pressing matters that I needed to take care of. However, I still made time for the animals as this is also an important part of being a volunteer. This balance was not only hard to find but hard to accept. Nevertheless, I have found this balance and am hoping that I will be able to apply it to other areas of my life as well.
How did the action cause change?
At first glance, it may not seem like this action had a huge change and maybe it didn’t. But, I know that it had a huge change on specific people, including myself. Whether it was the conversation I had with an elder in the hospital, or the animal that I spent time with until they warmed up to me, or even the nurses whose binders I sanitized, I know that my volunteer jobs impacted people and that caused change. Several of my friends reached out to me after I started volunteering, wondering if they could do the same thing – which they can and they are doing! So, this also created change.
My biggest findings with these two volunteer positions were that you don’t need to have an impact on a large number of people to create a meaningful change. At the hospital, I spent time with the same residents and the same nurses each week. At the shelter, I spent time with the same workers, but different animals each week. There were times when I felt like my work wasn’t helping anyone and was pointless. But, all I needed to do was to take a step back and look at my own personal growth, the work I have done for my community, and the impact it has had on others, and I was reminded of how important my position as a volunteer truly is. It was a very gratifying and rewarding experience. I can’t wait to dive deeper into it in my next and final post.
For this action, I didn’t end up using any resources as it was a chance for me to reflect on the work I had already done as a volunteer. I will be diving deeper into my reflection in my next post – the metamorphosis!
That’s all for this post! Thanks for reading! Please leave me any questions or comments below! 🙂