Written by Kyla Mort
Hello hello folks! My name is Kyla and I am a Hangouts volunteer at WCK! I have been volunteering with this wonderful foundation for over two years. I hopped onto WCK’s virtual Hangouts program at the start of the pandemic. During this time, I hosted both group and one-on-one Hangouts weekly. I decided to join the WCK team out of a love for creating meaningful connections, spreading positivity and joy, and strengthening my own sense of community! When I found out that WCK was offering a virtual Hangouts program that provides a sense of belonging, joy, and community to children impacted by cancer and blood disorders, I knew that there was no other foundation I would love to volunteer with more.
There are quite a few amazing benefits to being a Hangouts volunteer. Here are a few of many.
You get to express your creativity.
As a Hangouts host, you must be willing to adapt to unplanned situations. Kids are wild, energetic, and full of spontaneous ideas! Hanging out with children weekly challenges you to continue to find creative ways to collaborate, keep the kids entertained, and most importantly, have fun. It is always so exciting (and rewarding) to build a creative activity such as a scavenger hunt, a music video, a trivia game, or an entire chapter book that’s such a hit with the kids!
You get to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
When I first started volunteering in the Hangouts program, I was incredibly timid to dance and sing. I have never been a very outgoing or goofy person and so it took some courage to step outside of my comfort zone. I am so glad I was able take a leap and try something new! You’ll quickly realize that doing so can lead to fulfilling hangouts (and possibly non-stop giggles with the child/children you’re hanging out with). Don’t ever worry about embarrassing yourself or being too goofy; if you approach each Hangout with a positive attitude and a smile, you’re all set to have a great time!
You get to bring out your inner child.
One of my favourite parts about Hangouts is the ability to let loose, have fun, and be goofy. I find that as people grow older, their care-free spirits are often diminished. On these volunteer calls, I can let all my responsibilities and stressors go and focus on giving myself and the children I am connecting with an environment full of joy and laughter. If Hangouts has taught me anything, it’s that laughter and goofiness has immense healing powers.
And finally, you get to be part of a team that is making a difference.
WCK ensures all of its staff and volunteers understand the integral aspect each of them plays in making WCK the foundation it is. You may think that all you’re doing as a Hangouts volunteer is putting a smile on a child’s face, but you are actually doing so much more. You are creating meaningful friendships with children, you are providing caregivers with time to relax or finish work without having to entertain their children, and you are also letting a child simply be a child. Hangouts provides each child with a space to have fun and to feel like they belong, despite any challenges, road bumps, or obstacles they may have faced on their life journey so far.
So why volunteer at WCK?
You choosing to be a WCK volunteer not only enhances WCK’s impacts on families but also improves the quality of your own life. WCK Hangouts has changed me as a person. I have built such strong connections with children who I would have never met outside of this foundation. The children I engage with have shown me a new perspective of life that is full of perseverance, gratitude, and kindness. It is a privilege and an honour to hang out with children so admirable! I find that there is nothing more spiritually rewarding than taking part in work that prioritizes community connection and support.
Along with learning more about the cancer world and connecting with such beautifully compassionate children and staff, volunteering at WCK has helped build my resume, leading to various job opportunities. Volunteering is a great way to gain valuable work experience!
My parting words.
WCK has become such an important part of my life and I cannot wait to continue to make such wonderful memories with the children I hang out with and the staff I am supported by!
If you have a passion of working with children, of expressing creativity, of being silly and outgoing, then volunteering at WCK is the right choice for you. You are bound to have an endless supply of laughter. I wouldn’t be surprised if you leave each hangout with a full heart, a wide smile, and a memory you’re just dying to share!
I mean come on, who wouldn’t want to be a part of an environment like this? WCK is the place to be, people!