A volunteer for a non-profit in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, reflects on why he joined the organization — and why he continues to stay involved.
By Wesley MacInnis, Volunteer for HeroWork
We have all asked ourselves, “How do I affect the people around me?” It’s not a new question. Philosophers and teachers from every religion and ideology have asked themselves this because our relationships with one another define our place in this world.
I think about my place and how I affect others when someone asks me for help. Because I live in downtown Victoria, I get asked for help a lot. In the commotion and bustle of downtown Victoria during commuting hours, I give directions to tourists, the time to hurried late-runners, or spare change to those who need it. Afterward, I always think “What effect did I have?” and “How far will my good intentions extend beyond me?” Because these interactions are so fleeting, I usually don’t know what the end result will be.
Last year, this kind of questioning led me to join HeroWork — a nonprofit that stages flash renovations of local charities in need.
Between limited funding and a high demand for services, many local charities are unable to maintain their infrastructures, which makes it harder for them deliver their services. HeroWork mobilizes local business owners to donate time, money, equipment, and expertise to repair and rebuild the worn-out infrastructures of charities struggling to fulfill their mandates. HeroWork’s method of leveraging community partners saves recipient charities up to 80 percent of all renovation costs. “Radical Renovations,” as they are called, are open to everyone. HeroWork provides the opportunity for volunteers from the general public to participate directly, demonstrating how individual contributions help create the final result.
What I like best about volunteering with HeroWork is that I don’t need to question how my actions will affect others because the results are crystal clear.
The results are evident in the drastic physical change of each renovation and in how individual contributions can affect the renovation overall; they’re evident in the increased capacity of the recipient charities and in the undeniable feeling of well-being shared by everyone involved. Volunteering with HeroWork is so unlike the fleeting interactions on my commute because I am able to engage with the process through which my actions benefit others.
Oddly enough, it is the more abstract measures of HeroWork’s success that stay with me and reaffirm my decision to keep volunteering. Despite the physical change in each renovation and the before-and-after photos, and despite the objective ways that success is usually measured, the strongest evidence of success comes from within. We feel good when we know we have helped, and that’s a rare and rewarding feeling.
So get involved! Visit herowork.com to find an opportunity to volunteer or donate to upcoming projects.
Editor’s note: Want to learn more about how HeroWork helps charities in need? Read our article on HeroWork from the summer 2017 issue of TRUSTED magazine.