As a University of Guelph Sociology student wanting to build his resume and gain life experience, Nicholas Holden has been a Friendly Visiting Volunteer at The Village of Riverside Glen since July 2016 as a dedicated volunteer visiting residents who are isolated.
Nicholas was inspired by his Grandpa who volunteered at a retirement home in his community and has developed close relationships with a number of residents who do not often leave their rooms. “He is giving life purpose and fostering authentic relationships with our residents” says Volunteer Coordinator Tracey Veldhuis, “he always leaves Riverside Glen with a resident saying ‘please come back soon’.”
Aspiring to obtain a Masters in Social Work, Nicholas shares that his volunteer experience “has opened up my horizons and has increased my confidence”. Not only has Nicholas made an impact in the lives of residents, the benefit of his volunteer experience is mutual, “I have developed a close relationship with one resident in particular and I feel like I am visiting a friend, it makes me feel like I am making a difference in people’s lives.” says Nicholas.
The ability to develop relationships and make a connection with an older adult not only provides valuable resume experience but has offered Nicholas the opportunity to learn from the wisdom of elders. “This experience has opened up my horizons, I’ve learned so much from the residents.” says Nicholas.
As a busy university student, it is wonderful that Nicholas appreciates the value of balancing his studies with not only leisure, where he enjoys watching movies, playing video games, and following the news and politics, but also with giving back to his community through volunteering with Riverside Glen and Big Brothers.
Volunteering is impactful, it is meaningful and reciprocal in its benefit, and the experience of Nicholas and his friends at Riverside Glen is an incredible example of the spirit of volunteerism. The gift of time, compassion and caring that Nicholas shares brightens lives including his own and is greatly appreciated.
“I did some research and Riverside Glen seemed like a really accessible place to volunteer and gain some experience with seniors” says Nicholas. Whether volunteering as an individual, couple or family, there are a multitude of opportunities in the local community to volunteer as a Friendly Visitor and experience a meaningful connection with others. Given the mutual benefit of Nicholas’s experience, this clearly was a perfect match.