April is Volunteer Appreciation month and at Matthew’s House we truly appreciate the many ways in which volunteers support this resource for families. Some volunteer at the home, supporting the staff and working directly with the children. Others help out at community events and fundraisers. Laura Ullock, the resource development assistant for Matthew’s House says volunteers are vital to its success.
“Volunteers are amazing at creating awareness and without them we would not be able to have as many fundraising opportunities throughout the year,” says Ullock, pictured above left, with volunteer Dana Chandler.
Julie Haberlin and Rosie Sandhu are friends and colleagues who often volunteer at Matthew’s House events. They appreciate that this resource is right in their own community and that it supports families. As new mothers, they realize how important it is for parents to get rest and how hard it often is for parents of children with special needs to find that.
“As you learn more about how much families need this place, you just want to stay and support it,” Rosie says.
The pair have volunteered at fundraising galas, staffed the Matthew’s House booth at events like the Abbotsford Berry Festival or the RV Show at Tradex, or helped out at events like last year’s Rant and Raise with Rick Mercer.
“I love talking to people, especially when they’ve never heard about Matthew’s House and you can tell them what a great resource this is,” Julie says. “I love it when people say ‘I know someone who could use this.’”
Studies show that volunteering is good for one’s body and mind. Social interaction with others helps counteract anxiety and stress. Doing something different from your normal routine helps keep you physically active. Volunteering can help advance your career by giving you valuable work experience either directly in your field, or indirectly as you use your experience to practice important skills used in the workplace, such as teamwork, communication, problem solving, and organization. Volunteering also brings meaning and purpose to one’s life.
Julia Ware helps out at Matthew’s House, spending time with children. She had previous experience serving at a children’s hospice in the U.K. so when she moved to Abbotsford, she wanted to find something just as meaningful. She loves being with the kids and says the experience has been very fulfilling.
“It is only a few hours of your day and for me, is one of the most rewarding things I have done,” she says.
Volunteers who serve with Matthew’s House go through a thorough screening process. Ullock says that volunteering at Matthew’s House is for people who like to take part in events, try new things and have a flexible schedule.
“We are looking for people who like to meet others, who want to get out in their community and really make a difference for families.”
There are many opportunities for volunteers coming up in the next few months including the Abbotsford Berry Festival, Agrifair, and more. Click on the button below to find out how you can get involved and make a difference in the lives of families!