Experience and understanding: rewards for volunteer William Lee helps bring the kidsLINK story to life
By: Kristian Partington
William Lee has certainly gained valuable experience as a multi-media journalist through his time volunteering with kidsLINK, but it’s the greater understanding of how the organization impacts the lives of young people and their families that stands out as he looks back over the past eight months with the organization.
At first, William was drawn to kidsLINK as a volunteer because, as a new graduate from Conestoga College’s New Media: Convergence program with a background in journalism, he wanted to learn in the field and the organization had advertised for help in social media.
He quickly began diving deeper into the work, writing blogs, doing video work and interviewing team members for podcasts. Through this work he’s learned how, thanks to kidsLINK, children in the region with mental health issues and their families have valuable and practical options for support.
Looking back to his years growing up in Montreal, these options didn’t seem to exist, he says.
“When I was in school . . . people didn’t talk about children’s mental health,” he says, and to be part of kidsLINK as it works to remove stigmas and ensure young people have the support they need is rewarding.
“It’s very fulfilling work, paid or not paid,” William says.
Volunteer co-ordinator Selena Koprnicky says the reward that comes through working with William is found in his adaptability and willingness to dive into any project thrown his way.
“William pretty much does everything for us,” she says. “He is phenomenal.”
She says because of his influence, departments within the organization are finding new ways to share the impact they see in their work, and those who normally don’t seek the support of a volunteer are reconsidering.
“We’ve certainly learned a lot from him and he’s learning a lot from us as well,” she says, pointing to his eagerness to understand more about working in the mental health field.
Not long ago, for example, Selena was giving a presentation on resilience in the face of trauma, and William had been asked to film two hours of it.
“It was an eight-hour workshop and he actually stayed for the whole thing,” she says. “He was just so interested in what I had to say.”
William says he does hold out hope that a paid position might come available but for the time being, he’s going to continue to dedicate his time to the organization, knowing there are many benefits that will emerge in their own time.
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