How you can make 2018 the year of getting involved in the community.
Since New Year’s has passed, there may be a few of you out there that haven’t made any resolutions yet. While it is a good idea to commit to going to the gym or eating less pizza, it is also important to look at the bigger picture beyond personal goals. So, this year, why not make one of your New Year’s resolutions to improve Antigonish by volunteering or otherwise getting involved in the community. Knowing how challenging it is to dive head first into a new activity, I have put together this little guide that you can use as a jump start.
Although a small town, there is no shortage of places that you can volunteer in Antigonish. There is a variety of spaces and activities to engage in for every type of person. For instance, if you are artistic, you could volunteer with Antigonish Culture Alive; an organization which promotes an appreciation of the arts in the Antigonish area. For those looking for something more interactive and living off-campus in a pet-friendly place, several organizations offer a foster service. Through the Antigonish SPCA or Coastal K9, you can give a temporary home to a little furry friend.
If you’re a nursing student or are hoping to become a doctor, the St. Martha’s Hospital Foundation might be the right place for you to spend some time. They are always looking for volunteers to help with events or just to visit with patients. Alternatively, the Antigonish Women’s Resource Center is an enriching place to volunteer if the well-being of women in the community is one of your passions.
For those missing the days of campfires and earning badges, volunteering with Girl Guides or Boy Scouts might be the activity for you. While being a leader does entail membership fees and a stricter time commitment, you have the chance to teach kids how to build a mini rocket and tie knots. Not to mention, with Girl Guides, there’s the choice to become a Link member, which is a more casual commitment to the organization that still gives you the benefits of travel, scholarships, and professional development.
Of course, there are ways to get involved in the community on campus, such as through the Service Learning program. While it is too late to apply for Immersion Service Learning trips this year, students can start planning to apply to an ISL program next year. In the mean time, course-based Service Learning offers the chance to get involved with organizations like X-Project and L’Arche Antigonish and has IDS courses you can take as well.
You can get engaged on campus by joining societies, from X-Pride Society and StFX for SAFE, to the International Students Society. It’s an easy way to make new connections while getting involved in activities that improve the community. There’s also the Student Food Resource Center and the StFX Students’ Union elections that are ways to get involved within the campus community.
I have only just scratched the surface with community engagement opportunities. Hopefully, one the organizations above has peaked your interest in getting involved in the community this year or encourages you to find more organizations to get involved with in Antigonish. Plus, maybe getting involved in the community will be an easier New Year’s resolution to keep than cutting back on pizza.