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Category: Volunteering (page 1 of 2)

2018-2019 Executive Applications

That time of year is here again – we’re opening up applications for the 2018-2019 Project 5K Executive Team!

If you haven’t heard of us, Project 5K is a student-run non-profit organization dedicated to helping students find meaningful volunteer opportunities. We’re looking for passionate, innovative, and hard-working individuals to join our 2018-2019 Executive Team! If this describes you, we want YOU to apply!

Depending on your role as an executive, you’ll have the opportunity to learn (or develop!) valuable skills, such as event planning, graphic design, blog writing, finding sponsorships, and working with other organizations on a professional level.

Keep reading below for detailed descriptions of all our available positions!

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2017-2018 Executive Applications

We’re opening up applications for the 2017-2018 executive positions!

Project 5K is a non-profit, student run organization that helps students find meaningful volunteer opportunities, and teach them how to contribute back to the community.

Some of the stuff our executive team does:

  • Reach out to find new partners for volunteer opportunities
  • Find sponsorships to support our events and ongoing operations
  • Lead volunteers at events, making sure they have a great time
  • Plan our own events, like one where we brought 30 volunteers downtown to give sandwiches to the homeless
  • Design promotional posters and t-shirts
  • Document our events through photography and film
  • Interview and meet cool people (CEOs, entrepreneurs, leaders) to create podcasts and blog posts, creating content that students would love
  • Manage technical services such as Mailchimp, EventBrite, and our website

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Volunteering Can Suck, 5 Reasons to Do It Anyways

It is currently 12:44 A.M ( I sleep at 9, usually) and I’m coming back from helping out at the Richmond Hill Lawn Tennis Association.  Every so often you can find kids at the local court looking to play in the upcoming tournament. They often need help with their serve or backhand. They put in hundreds of hours of practicing, counting and relying on the mentors who drop in and give their time to help out. That’s it, no volunteering hours for school, no recognition and a lot of work. I’m ready to flop on my bed and go to sleep.

I keep on asking myself, why do I do this? Pushing back important work and school projects to volunteer in the community and help out. Sometimes my friends ask me whether all this volunteering is worth the effect that it has on school work, but I truly believe that with the right mindset, the impact you create from volunteering  is worth magnitudes more than an insignificant number on your report card.

Change your fixed mindset of what volunteering is and what it should be. It’s more than just putting in hours at a summer camp or library. Want to travel the world? Learn new skills?

Here are five simple steps to reach your goals through volunteering that will redefine why you should go out and volunteer. Read more

Project 5K: Success, Screwups, and Remembering We’re Humans Too

After a 2 month break, Project 5K (and the Project 5K blog) are back in action! We spent the last two months picking this year’s exec team, planning the next year, and just getting really, really excited!

(Okay that last part sounded lame)

Since it’s the new term, I thought it would be a cool idea to reflect on all the stuff that we did in 2015-2016. Something that I really wanted to give you a look at was all the stuff that we screwed up on last year, because all that stuff usually happens behind the scenes and no one ever hears about it.

Enjoy! Read more

How You Can (help) Make More Than $6 Million

Why should you bother volunteering when you can be making money? It seems to make so much more sense to help yourself. Right?

Something that I’ve thought about is how a lot of volunteering can get really mundane and boring. There are a few particular words and events that we throw around in 5K that make us sort of shudder and wince. “Flyers”, “sign holding”, and “route marshalling” are some of them. “. How does that help anyone? How is that helping volunteers and students make a difference in the community?Project 5K volunteer helps at Toronto Yonge St. 5K run

You know what, we get it. Standing in the cold waiting for runners to cross the finish line sucks. That’s why here at 5K we try and make our own little internal events so that you can see the impact you have, but you know what, the “boring volunteer events” like runs, walks, and festivals can have a big impact. Sometimes you just have to step back and realize that small, little, mundane task you are doing can help make a big difference. A $6 million difference.

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Want to Join a Youth Council?

If you haven’t heard, this is around the time when applications to youth councils and non-profits start popping up. I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of things about how good they are for university applications and the like, but what else do you know about being part of a youth council?

If you don’t know me, I’m Nick, and this year I was one of the members of the Project 5K exec team. Today, I wanted to see if I could answer questions and sort of prepare expectations as to what happens on a youth council. I hope that it can help you decide whether you want to be part of a youth council in the upcoming year!

There are 3 questions that I really want to try and answer today.

What can you learn from being on a youth council?

What is it really like on the inside of a youth council?

What’s the point in being on one?

After reading this post, if you have any more questions feel free to anonymously ask them in this form 

What can you learn?

Youth councils are a great way to get out the classroom and get your hands dirty. Really, school can only teach you so much.

One thing that everyone learns on a youth council is teamwork. A youth council is a moving group of 20+ teenagers trying to make a difference. Along the way you have to learn how to collaborate with others, resolve conflicts, and make decisions together. Everyone has to do their own part. It’s a skill that we all think we can get from working on school projects, but you know, one or two people always end up doing the work.

Youth council made care packages for homeless

Some of our care packages for the homeless!

One example? We had an event called Operation Rudolph, where we made and delivered care packages for the homeless. Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough money to get all the boxes. So five of us raised money by selling candy grams at our school. So one day, we stayed late after school to make more than a hundred candy grams. One person sorted the candy, another put it in the bag, someone else wrote the tags, and then finally we cut and tied the bags up. Me? Let’s just say that I got really good at stuffing bags with tissue paper.

Something that you never truly appreciate until you’re on the inside is how much work goes into something. One of our photographers JiaJia talks about it more in one of our posts. But we go to dances and workshops all the time. You never appreciate all of the time that goes into event planning until you do it yourself. You have to get the venue, organize performers, figure out costs, get sponsors, all of these can take hours upon hours in order to organize.

Youth council = Event planning skills. Take it from me, after organizing one of our workshops, organizing parties are a pushover. Read more

What I Learned From Volunteering & Helping the Homeless

“What I learned from helping the homeless is that it is better to make a contribution to others who need it rather than to yourself” – Yunqi Ji, a Project 5K volunteer

These days, I browse my social media and see various posts of people volunteering, helping the homeless, stripping half naked to give their clothing away or going out of their way to buy meals whilst talking with the homeless and discovering their background stories. In the past, reading those comments of gratitude and ‘FAITH IN HUMANITY RESTORED’ always made me wonder what I could have done to make a difference. But it’s the 21st century and I’m too lazy to go out and help out strangers without a real reason.

Then I walked into high school. Watching my brother struggle to get his 40 hours made volunteering one of my top priorities. Throughout Grade 9, I joined school clubs and councils to fill up those hours.

On a whim, I applied for a few youth councils, but I didn’t think I would get accepted. Applying to these councils have definitely been one of the best and most dramatic experiences in my life. Turns out volunteering can be pretty fun!

So if you’re a couch potato like me, I want to give you a few reasons why you should stop watching “Orange is the New Black” and go volunteer.

Orange is the new black

Please just stop.

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A Living, Breathing Website

1,717,933. That’s the number of lines of code that keeps the main website running on a daily basis, approximately 32,000 of which were written by us. The idea was simple really. Create a platform that would make it easy for youth to sign up for volunteering opportunities. Easy, right?

No, not really. Project 5K is unique in that we handle a ridiculously large volume of data and communications in comparison to most other youth organizations. As a result, the traditional methods that many rely upon don’t work very well for us – sending thousands of emails at once is harder than it sounds. Thus, as the foundational core for many of our critical day-to-day operations, the pressure to keep things running smoothly is immense; like a vital organ, we, the web team, cannot afford to fail.

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Take a Step Back, Help Others, be Happy

Winning medals. High marks. We’re told that if we do those things then we can get into a good university, go get a good job, make money, and then we can finally be happy.

I have pretty good marks, a few swimming medals, and a part time job. According to what universities, parents, and teachers are telling us, I should be a pretty happy high school guy right?

But it doesn’t feel any different. In the pursuit of those high marks and those prestigious achievements, it’s like I’m chasing an empty dream. An idea of happiness that keeps getting further away from me the harder I try. I realized that if the only thing I cared about were awards, marks, and money, I would never be as happy as I want to be.

“When I grow up, I want to be happy.” ~Nick C. 2011

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4 Reasons why 40 hours just isn’t enough

I live in Ontario, where high school students have to log at least 40 hours in order to graduate. When I first heard that I was incredibly annoyed. 40 hours? I couldn’t believe that in order to graduate, I would need to waste more than a day of my life at a food bank or something. My goal was to finish my volunteer hours as soon as possible so I could get a job and start making money.

I thought I could live happily ever after. I mean I finished my hours, got a job, and I would never have to waste any of my time again. But one day, I applied for an exec position here at Project 5K, with the full intention of just doing the bare minimum for a nice position on my university applications.

But as it turns out, I would start volunteering more of my time than ever. I’m just a Web Developer, but I soon found myself volunteering more of my time to blog, helping to organize events, and creating volunteer workshops. Along the way, I’ve been having more fun than ever.

But that’s enough about me. I’m here to share 3 reasons why you should volunteer for more than 40 hours. I’m not going to be talking about “helping out the community” today. I promise. I’m sure you’ve heard that one too many times….

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