Why you should volunteer:
"The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” -Mahatma Gandhi
When thinking about volunteering, there are a plethora of benefits for students to take into account. It has been shown that those who volunteer tend to be happier, have higher self-esteem, and present with less depressive symptoms, contributing to improved mental health (Piliavin & Siegl, 2007). Volunteering tends to equip individuals with a sense of purpose, pride, and identity, which has been linked to decreased mortality risk, meaning those who volunteer tend to live longer! (Cohen, Bavishi, & Rozanski, 2016; Yeung, Zhang, & Kim, 2017). Also, civic engagement can improve one’s ability to build connections with others, therefore boosting social skills (Wilson & Musick, 1998). Volunteers report an increased sense of social connectedness, life satisfaction, and happiness, thus warding off feelings of loneliness (Thoits & Hewitt, 2001). Overall, volunteering can improve one’s mental health, lengthen one’s lifespan, boost social skills, and combat loneliness.
For students, this means volunteering may provide an opportunity to increase one’s physical and mental health, as well as open the door to more social networks and engaging experiences that may be useful to connect with professionals or employers and to build one’s resume. If your interest has been piqued, read along to discover opportunities that are taking place in your area! The time commitment required for the following opportunities is often very flexible, making it easy to fit volunteering into busy student life!
Volunteer Opportunities at StFX
The Service Learning Program offered through StFX is a great way for students to get involved in volunteering opportunities with community partners here in Antigonish. With the help of the program’s coordinators, students can find a volunteer opportunity that best suits their interests and their area of study. For further information on how to get involved in the Service Learning Program, or for information on community partners that work with our school, click here.
With the wide variety of societies at StFX, there truly is something for everyone. Being a part of a society helps you to form connections with others doing something you both enjoy while also opening doors for community service that you are all passionate about. For a list of the current societies at StFX, click the link above.
Volunteering within our campus community is a great way for students to get involved in volunteer initiatives that are specifically directed towards working with other students. The Student’s Union Job Posting Website is a great resource for students to visit to stay up to date on on-going volunteer opportunities on the StFX campus. For more information on current and upcoming campus volunteering opportunities, click the link above.
Opportunities in HealthCare:
These two unique homes are great volunteer opportunities for students looking to give back to their community and also learn from their elders. These homes are local to the Antigonish area making it easy for students to access. Volunteering at either of these homes may entail any of the following: one-on-one visits, outings, nail care, baking, cards, crafts, games and much more. Another benefit of this specific volunteer opportunity is availability, as they do not require you to determine a set time you need to come in to volunteer; it can be as often as weekly visits, or as little as once a month. For an inquiry into either opportunity please click on the links above.
b) St. Martha’s Regional Hospital
There are a wide variety of volunteer opportunities at Antigonish’s only hospital. The two documents below contain information on how to become a volunteer and the type of positions available.
c) Blood Drive Clinics
Low on time? Giving blood is also a form of volunteering! Blood drives are hosted on campus at StFX multiple times a year so keep your eyes open for dates and times.
a) General Opportunities
For general inquiries of those looking to volunteer in a physically active environment in the Antigonish area, click the links below. These links will provide you with further links and ideas to volunteer in the Antigonish community and the surrounding areas. They also contain recreational opportunities and job postings where you can further contact other sports/programs to volunteer.
b) Sports Teams
Volunteering with a sports team or within a sports association is an easy way to get involved in the community and make a big difference. Antigonish has various sports team associations in which volunteer opportunities are possible. Volunteer opportunities include coaching, timekeeping, refereeing, helping with tournaments and much more. Below are links to Antigonish sport associations. These websites contain general information about the associations and also includes lists of teams with their coaches and/or managers whom you can contact to ask about volunteer opportunities with their teams.
Fit 4 Tots and Fit 4 Life are two volunteer opportunities that are offered through the StFX Human Kinetics department. They were created for Human Kinetics students to give them an opportunity to make connections with the content they learn in class; however, they are open to all student volunteers. These game programs serve as a fun, active and interactive environment for students to volunteer. Volunteers will learn how to interact with children to help them develop social, emotional, and physical skills: all skills crucial to well-being.
a) Food Banks
The StFX Students' Food Resource Centre is a free, confidential, and accessible service aimed to provide all students with the appropriate resources to manage a sufficient, healthy diet. This food bank is located on StFX campus and is available to all students. It is a great resource that relies on volunteers.
The Feed Nova Scotia website is connected to the local food bank here in Antigonish, which also relies on volunteers to stay open. Their site outlines an easy way to get involved by giving you a sheet to fill out an online application to submit. When volunteering in the Antigonish food bank you are helping those in the community who are financially in need. Thus, when helping in this area you are allowing families to focus their financial efforts on things such as paying off bills, instead of worrying about what their family’s next meal will be.
b) Best Buddies
In Best Buddies, you will be paired up with a member from the community who has an intellectual disability. You will be responsible for arranging a weekly outing with your Buddy; examples include bowling, sports games and going out to eat. If interested contact Ben Zumwalt, the 2019-2020 society president at email@example.com.
a) Coastal K9
Coastal K9 Rescue Society is a non-profit, volunteer dog rescue society located in Antigonish. Common tasks include socializing animals, meeting with potential adoptees and taking general care of the animals. If interested, click on the link above to access the volunteer application.