Event Participation: My Journey to Volunteering

The path that led me to want to volunteer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre was a humbling experience that left me feeling helpless. We all carry experiences with us. Some are good, and some not so good—but each has the power to define us and help us grow. Volunteering will turn helplessness into helping and that’s just one of the many benefits.

While the volunteering process may not be considered a typical professional development event it was a learning opportunity for me. Volunteering is something I have always wanted to do, and I am so happy to be able to finally take the skills I have developed over the years and give back to an organization I value so much.

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Quick Overview of The Royal’s Volunteering Process

I didn’t realize how in depth a volunteering application was until I started the process. Here are the steps:

  • Fill out a Volunteer Application and get two references to fill out Volunteer Reference forms
  • Have a personal interview
  • Go to the police station and get a Police Records Check (The Royal will provide a letter so you can get his done for free, otherwise there is a charge)
  • Arrange for a mandatory TB test (free at The Royal for volunteers)
  • Complete a 2-hour online course
  • Complete 2.5-hour Orientation

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Impressed so far

I am signed up to attend my orientation next month and after that I will be ready to begin volunteering. What have I walked away with so far about the volunteering process?

I am surprised about how long the process is but see the necessity of each step. In moving through the steps I realized that the process was step one in the commitment to be a volunteer. Simply put: if you can’t make it through the process then volunteering for this cause isn’t for you.

Quotable Quote

“We can’t wait to have you on board.” Wow, thank you. The Royal sees their volunteers as vital to their operation as paid staff. It’s always nice to feel wanted!

Looking Ahead

I am looking forward to participating in educational events and workshops as they become available so I can continue learning about mental health issues and in turn continue contributing.


Is there a cause you would like to volunteer for?

2 thoughts on “Event Participation: My Journey to Volunteering

  1. Volunteering is by far one of the most rewarding experiences I have ever had. I volunteered in the Developing World on two occasions and I can tell you, it builds character and strength — and quick. You build a stronger empathy and compassion for others and truly broaden your perspective of the world.

    The funny thing I learned about volunteering is that the people I was helping, were often helping me more. I learned that the poorest of people were often happier, more resilient, stronger and more humble than people who “had it all.” The memories you create and the relationships you build while volunteering often last a lifetime. It truly can change your life.

    I commend you for giving back to your community. We have so much to learn from each other and there’s nothing that will warm your heart more than serving others. When people who are in need of support see a complete stranger who is there to help them and bring them hope, it really creates a positive effect.

    Best of luck at the Royal Ottawa! I’m sure it will be a great education.


  2. Thanks Krista,
    I have started and so far I love it! I am looking forward to the experience and expect I will meet people who will most definitely change my life!

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