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Volunteer Testimony of the Month

Do you know someone dedicated to volunteerism? Nominate them for Volunteer of the Month by emailing [email protected] 

 

Delena Grakist, 2nd Year History MajorPhoto of Delena Grakist, Volunteer of the Month. She is smiling at the camera and has glasses, long brown hair with bangs and is wearing a turquoise shirt and black cardigan

Delena volunteers at the University Drive Alliance Church as a Worship Leader and on campus with the Power to Change Club. She has been tracking her hours with UVolunteer since September 2018 and has almost 80 hours so far! 

Delena moved to Lethbridge from Ontario to pursue her education at the University of Lethbridge. After graduation, she plans on going into a Master's program in His

 

How did you begin volunteering? What encouraged you to volunteer?

I'm from Ontario, we have to volunteer 40 hours as a requirement to graduate high school. I found I really liked volunteering and that there's a lot of opportunities to volunteer. 

In High School I volunteered on a Hobby Farm, cleaning out the barns and playing with animals. At the time I really liked horses, and volunteering was a way to spend time with horses and animals without having to buy them. Volunteering at the Hobby Farm turned into a thing where even when I was done my required hours I was going there every weekend. 

 

What was your first volunteer experience while at the University of Lethbridge?

At my church, University Drive Alliance Church. I volunteered at Thanksgiving making pies for a fundraiser. Most of my hours now come from volunteering with the church, with a leadership position with young adults. 

 

How did you hear about the UVolunteer program? 

From a class presentation with Paige (the previous UVolunteer Program Coordinator). Before I moved to Alberta I had volunteered a lot at home, and because I am not from here I wanted to volunteer and get involved in different ways. I did a couple of one-off volunteer positions in October of my first year, before getting more involved with my church. Now, most of my volunteering is church-related, sometimes through our youth leadership group, I do work with Streets Alive. On-campus I am also on the Power to Change Club Executive. 

 

What's important to you about the UVolunteer program? 

It's great how we have all the options to volunteer. When I first started I didn't know who I wanted to volunteer with, so it was nice to be able to find out about all the options out there. 

 

When did you begin recording your hours? How is it helpful for you?

I started tracking my volunteer hours when I started volunteering in my first year. I have used the hours I've tracked to apply for scholarships. 

 

What is the most rewarding part of volunteering for you? What, for you, are the benefits of volunteering?

Being able to help people, when we go to Streets Alive it's a tangible thing, helping strangers who are not in a great place and need help, not just helping people I know. Even a small thing makes a big difference. 

For me the benefit is being involved in a community, especially coming from out of town. Volunteering is a great way to meet people and make connections, to try new things and have new opportunities you wouldn't have otherwise. 

 

How do you see that your volunteer efforts make a difference in your neighbourhood/community?

I work with a worship team and, even in people who I've been leading directly under me (since September, I've seen them really grow as individuals. Part of leadership is delegating and getting them to be a leader in some tasks, some of them have really stepped up and I'm proud of them for that. 

 

What is your favourite experience you’ve had volunteering?

Working with my church, the pie day was super fun getting to make pies and chatting with other people, and you know it's for a fundraiser/good cause. 

 

How has volunteering helped you grow? Have you experienced anything you didn't expect? 

Getting put into leadership positions that I didn't think I was ready for, once I started I realized I am capable even though it might be hard. Hopefully, I am learning from experiences and actually becoming a better leader too. 

 

What would you say to students who are considering volunteering? Who may be thinking of exploring the UVolunteer program?

Just to it! You won't regret it. Even if you don't love what you first try with volunteering, you'll still learn something. Maybe you'll learn your likes and dislikes. 

 

About

The UVolunteer Program is a joint project between Volunteer Lethbridge and the University of  Lethbridge, established in 2015.  The University's philosophy of Liberal Education and focus on engaged citizenship to promote the public good has made a collaboration with Volunteer Lethbridge a natural fit. The UVolunteer partnership is overseen by the Executive Director of Volunteer Lethbridge and the Dean of the School of Liberal Education at the University of Lethbridge.

 

Vision:

UVolunteer will provide a framework for the many University of Lethbridge students who already volunteer to organize and document their volunteer work, and inspire and motivate more students to volunteer in their communities. This will create a campus culture that engages students, faculty, and staff, and  improve student life, encourages community involvement on campus and in the surrounding community,  and attracts new students to the University by communicating the value and impact of civic engagement.  This program sets a standard across Canada for a Volunteer-University collaboration.

 

Mission:

The UVolunteer Program combines the University of Lethbridge's core philosophy of Liberal Education and commitment to our broader communtiy with the mission of  Volunteer Lethbridge, in a resourced partnership that includes both groups as well as the University's Student Union.

 

Objects

“UVolunteer” will: 

  • Enhance the culture of volunteerism and engagement on campus
  • Connect U of L students with volunteer opportunities within the University, Lethbridge, and area communities 
  • Increase volunteer opportunities associated with the University of Lethbridge
  • Engage students in experiential learning
  • Provide recognition to program participants
  • Provide support to faculty to imbed volunteer opportunities in the classroom
  • Build positive relationships with community organizations by providing a valuable human resource
  • Inspire not for profit organizations to utilize student motivation and initiatives
DR. FOSTER JAMES PENNY BUILDING
324 5TH STREET SOUTH
LETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA
T1J 2B5
PHONE: 403-332-4320
FAX: 403-332-4321

 

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