Volunteering; an excellent way to gain experience

Murray was referred to the Neil Squire Society (new window) in Ottawa (new window), Ontario (new window), by the Step Up Work Centre (new window), a program of the Brain Injury Association of the Ottawa Valley (new window). With a goal to re-enter the work force, Murray became involved with the Step Up Work Centre, enhancing his skills through work experience. He has become an integral part of the centre, contributing to both the office administration and preparing meals in the kitchen.

Murray (centre) at Stillwater Creek Retirement Residence with Activity Assistant Jennifer (left) and Activity Director, Diane (right)Murray connected with the Neil Squire Society’s Central Regional Office in early 2012 for one-on-one job search support. He identified a goal to secure part time work either using his years of sales and customer service experience, or using his new skills as a cook. Murray followed an in depth job search blitz – applying to many jobs either in person or online, but he was not able to secure work.

To gain further experience, Murray discussed volunteer opportunities with Employ-Ability Program Facilitator, Polly Beach, and put Murray in contact with the Activities Coordinator at Stillwater Creek Retirement Residence (new window), Diane McGowan. He was quickly accepted as a volunteer and twice a week, he gives Diane and her team much needed help.

Murray’s own words best describe his first day volunteering (new window), “I was having such a good time helping run a trivia game that I never noticed the time. It is such a wonderful environment I cannot wait to go back.”

Two months later, Murray’s volunteer experience has deepened and become even more rewarding. “It has been a lot of fun getting to meet new people and help some senior stroke survivors become more social. A lot of them would never leave their rooms or socialize with anyone. But now, slowly, more of them are coming out and talking. Even if only for an hour, it’s a great start,” says Murray.

Murray’s experience is proof that volunteering is an excellent way to gain experience and assist with career exploration. Murray is now seriously contemplating a future working with seniors in a retirement home (new window).

If you would like to make a donation to support others like Murray, you may do so here.