Dave and Alex Bouferguene are students at the University of Alberta. They are both active runners and are aiming for careers in health sciences.
They’re also considered well-known volunteers at Catholic Social Services, having supported the agency since they were 12 and 13-years-old.
“Our mom worked at CSS and they always needed people to help, so she signed us up,” laughs Dave. “And now it’s easy to put something into my schedule. Honestly, volunteering has opened up my eyes to how I can use my time. You don’t realize how much time you waste, until you fit in an event, and you still have time to do everything else.”
They’re learning time management, adding experience that looks good on a resumé, improving life skills and gaining perspective.
“Everyone brings their own understanding to every task and event, so you need to be open-minded. You’re practicing patience and collaboration. You learn how to meet a goal with people who communicate in different ways than you,” says Alex.
“And society requires a lot of volunteers to make things work and move forward,” adds Dave. “We compete in track meets that require so many people contributing their time and effort. If you had to pay everyone working at the event, it would be so expensive, no one could participate. That’s an important lesson to learn.”
Both young men are quick to point out the fun to be found in lending a hand.
Over the years, they’ve helped to create a garden at a residence for people living with disabilities, served as activity leaders at summer camps for immigrant children new to Alberta, organized presents for kids’ Christmas parties, thrown candy into the crowd, and so much more.
“It’s nice to provide a light for people having a hard time. They’ve had a rough upbringing, they’re coming from war-torn countries. It’s so great to see them smiling and laughing.”
They say all young people should try volunteering, and believe a mandatory volunteer requirement in high school curriculums would be a great benefit to both students and society.
“At the time, while you’re volunteering, it doesn’t seem like a big deal. I’m moving a table, I’m working a sound booth, it’s nothing,” says Alex. “But you realize when each individual person pitches in, a collective can make amazing things happen.”
CSS has volunteering opportunities for every age, ability and interest. To find your perfect fit, visit cssalberta.ca/volunteer