In The Media

A Passion to Volunteer

By Julia Won • Schulich Leader at University of Toronto
Winter 2017/2018

Having an abundance of volunteer opportunities is one of the many reasons why I love Toronto. Since 2015, while studying in this wonderful city, I learned about dozens of events and organizations in which I volunteer. In fact, almost every month you can find a fun volunteer role! Through this article, I want to share some of these volunteer experiences, as well as encourage others to get involved in the community.

I specifically focus on my experiences with Dr. Spike Lee’s Mind and Body Lab, Women’s College Hospital, and City Cultural Events.

Dr. Spike Lee’s Mind and Body Lab

In May 2016, I became a psychology research assistant for Dr. Spike Lee’s Mind and Body Lab at the University of Toronto. For one year I had the incredible experience to be part of Dr. Lee’s lab as a work study student. As I previously mentioned in my other article (http://www.schulichleaders.com/summer-stats-summer-psych), you can be hired as a work study student if you enroll in a specified number of courses for the academic year, which is different for each institution. In the summer of 2017, however, I was not eligible to be a work study student. Fortunately, Dr. Lee provided me the opportunity to continue as a volunteer. Research is an important skill for many post secondary students and having first hand experience in a lab of your field will be valuable. If you do not know where to start, I recommend asking professors if you could be a volunteer at their lab.

Women’s College Hospital          

Toronto is the home of many hospitals and health research institutions. Regardless if you are considering a future career in health, I think volunteering at a hospital can help you develop valuable skills that are beneficial in any setting. Personally, I have been a volunteer at Women’s College Hospital since 2016. During the past two years I have been volunteering at the hospital once a week in various roles such as patient greeter, survey project volunteer, and chart logging volunteer. Currently, I am a finance department assistant. Through my many roles, I learned that Women’s College Hospital has a diverse pool of volunteer opportunities that could accommodate many interests. Information on being a hospital volunteer can be found on the hospital’s website. For Women’s College Hospital, the website is  http://www.womenscollegehospital.ca/volunteer/

City Cultural Events

City Cultural Events is an organization managed by the City of Toronto and it plans many annual city-wide events. These events, to list a few, include Canada Day celebrations, Nuit Blanche, and Doors Open. My first volunteer role with this organization was in 2016 as a tour guide assistant for Doors Open. My most recent volunteer experience was on December 31st, 2017 for New Year’s Eve celebrations at Nathan Philip Square. I think City Cultural Events has an amazing volunteer registration system. Once you sign up, you will have access to an online portal where you may register for upcoming events. In addition, the staff regularly send email reminders about new opportunities! If you are interested in being part of City Cultural Events, look under “Short-Term Volunteer Opportunities” on this link, https://www.toronto.ca/community-people/get-involved/volunteer-with-the-city/