I am inspired every day by the positive change that is being led by students -- even some who are still in grade school. It reminds me that anyone at any age has the power to spark change. Just look at Nobel Peace Prize Winner Malala Yousafzai, or the Kielburger brothers, as amazing examples.
Today's young people are giving their time to the social causes they care most about -- be it the environment, education or access to clean drinking water -- and whatever the cause, they are vocal about it. For them, especially, social media has served as a great platform to make this happen.
At any age, giving back to your community is rewarding, but for students looking to make their mark on the world, getting engaged in a cause that matters can be a defining point in your life. Here are just a few reasons why.
You can make a difference: Whether you're volunteering, raising money or helping to spread the word about an important cause, giving back to your community will make you realize how much impact one person can make. It's a good reminder that when you put your mind to something, you can achieve great things.
You'll gain great experience: Often, volunteer organizations need people to help out on all aspects of the operation, providing many opportunities to get well-rounded experience that you wouldn't necessarily get elsewhere. On the flip-side, it's a great way to hone your own unique skills and share your experiences with others.
You'll build confidence: Sometimes, being dedicated to a cause means you have to put yourself out there. Maybe you're raising funds and need to reach out to your contacts, or you're trying new channels to get a message out. Taking small, controlled risks to try new things gives you the chance to build your confidence, and gain a sense of achievement, while exploring what works and what doesn't. These skills become great building blocks as you enter the workforce.
It looks great on a resume: There's no doubt -- if you want to set yourself apart from other job applicants, having robust volunteer experience is appealing to a prospective employer. In addition to showing your dedication and work ethic, it also demonstrates your core values, who you are as a person and a passion for causes you believe in.
It expands your network: Working alongside seasoned professionals or just others with a similar passion will be key in making lasting and valuable connections. These individuals can provide strong references for you in the future, become your mentors or even life long friends.
During my time at RBC, I've had the opportunity to see first hand how students can make a difference in their communities. Through the #Make150Count intiative, thousands of students from coast to coast are working to do something good -- from starting a clothing drive for new Canadians and dropping off toys to a children's hospital, to delivering hot cups of tea while chatting with those living in poverty. What I've learned most is how the simplest ideas, and the smallest gestures, can really go a long way in brightening someone's day and show what it means (in my opinion) to be Canadian.
As a student, and even now in adulthood, I've always found it rewarding to get involved in something I feel passionate about and do something really impactful. It's such a great way to have a deeper connection to your community and the enrichment you get from giving back -- however you can -- is truly invaluable.
Let us know what you would do with $150 to make the world a better place.
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