Illustration of two hands holding a heart over the city of Toronto skyline

Illustration By Mia Lai

How do I volunteer in Toronto and the GTA?

We’ve rounded up resources, links and how-tos to help you get started giving back to your community right away

We hear you loud and clear: You want to give back. But there are so many people and so many good causes—not to mention that we live in a huge metropolis—so figuring out where to take your first step on this journey may feel daunting.

Ontario matches the national average when it comes to volunteering. A survey conducted by Statistics Canada found that 44% of Canadians (and 44% of Ontarians) aged 15 and older volunteered their time to a charitable organization. We’re lagging behind the front-runner, Saskatchewan (56%), but ahead of last-place Quebec (32%). And even though most people talk about wanting to give back, more than half of us in this province are still sitting on the sidelines, wondering which way to jump.

Well, no more. At Local Love, we’re proud of our Toronto and GTA volunteer community, and we’ve been sharing all kinds of resources to help more people get into the habit of giving back. If you’re a newbie, a former volunteer or even someone with their charitable game plan in place, there’s an opportunity for you to do something positive for others and feel good about it.

First step: Figure out your volunteer identity. And then read up on the basics of being a respectful volunteer, before you get started.

Sometimes life feels too busy for socializing, so volunteering can be especially fun if you’re bonding with your friends or co-workers at the same time. Grab your pals and try out a new group volunteering activity or get your boss on side for a workplace giving initiative.

Maybe it’s time to share your professional skills for the greater good. You can look into getting onto a charitable board or helping a volunteer organization get its tech on.

Kids are often the most energetic volunteers, so it pays to put that good will to work. Talk to them about why giving back is important and brainstorm positive ways they can help out their fellow humans—at any age. And don’t forget that there are lots of children who need volunteers to help them grow—becoming a mentor can build personal bonds that last a lifetime and make a huge difference in kids’ lives.

Even if you’re short on time or money—or both—there are small, significant contributions you can make. Check out some simple, inexpensive ways to give when you’re on a budget, or consider microvolunteering if you can’t shoehorn one more activity into your weekly agenda.

Canada’s National Volunteer Week is April 7 to 13, 2019. Visit Volunteer Canada, Ontario Volunteer Centre Network and Volunteer Toronto for more information and resources.

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