Getting an edge on the competition

Experience speaks volumes. No matter what Brock program you are in and no matter what degree you endeavour to achieve, you will have difficulty standing out to future employers – unless you possess something that gives you an edge. Volunteering is one way to achieve that edge on the competition.
There are countless businesses in St. Catharines which offer opportunities to students looking for experience in various fields; Niagara Health System (NHS) is simply one of them, but is one that offers many opportunities.
Julie DeRuiter, Volunteer Resources Recruiter at NHS, says that the NHS has a wide variety of programs that meet the interest of Brock students.
“Volunteering is a wonderful way for students to explore career opportunities in the areas of Medicine, Nursing, and Speech Language Pathology, for example,” she said.
Various opportunities are available for students in NHS’ Emergency Department (patient interaction, ideal for Nursing students), a program called Meal Time Friends (ideal for Speech Language students), Clinics/OR (Communication Studies students may be interested as it involves greeting patients and visitors, escorting to waiting rooms and treatment rooms, answering questions, reassuring worried families, getting families into recovery and enforcing policy) and Oncology (provide support to patients and loved ones coping with cancer treatment, serve refreshments, provide a listening ear, keep the unit stocked with supplies and prepare examination rooms).
“Not only does it give exposure to what careers are like within a hospital setting, but it also allows people to gain the skills needed for effective patient bedside manner,” said DeRuiter.
The benefits of volunteering for the NHS are innumerable.
“Experience is so important, especially in this tough job market where university grads are finding it harder and harder just to get an entry-level job. Volunteer experience is on-par with co-op experience – it is all about making you the best candidate out there,” said DeRuiter. Interested students should visit niagarahealth.on.ca.
Another local business looking to recruit student volunteers is at the Niagara Folk Arts Multicultural Centre (NFAMC). Melanie Bural, Youth Host Program Coordinator, is currently seeking volunteers for her department entitled Canadian Connections.
“We are looking for Canadian volunteers who can befriend newcomers. We are looking for individuals who are interested in talking to people from other countries and helping them build networks in the communities they are now living in,” she said. “In these programs, specifically, we run activities and events where we look for volunteers who can help run those activities, and also get to know the Newcomer Youth Centre in the community and help them get to know the community services that are out and around.”
The benefits of volunteering at the NFAMC are, as Bural states, getting to know the community and learning about the myriad of cultures in the Niagara region.
There are also tutoring programs available for those looking to teach in the future. “If you’re thinking of teaching, or are gearing toward that career, we will write letters of reference and will be references for jobs based on the students’ manner of volunteering,” said Bural.
Interested students should visit folk-arts.ca where application forms are available to be filled out. 

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