CANSA Volunteers – Team Work Makes the Dream Work

International Volunteers Day, celebrated annually on December 5, was mandated by the United Nations General Assembly in 1985, to celebrate the power and potential of volunteerism.

CANSA continues with the traditional, annual celebration of CANSA volunteers this International Volunteers Day in December 2017.

Elize Joubert, CANSA CEO says,

“We’ve have learnt that volunteers come from all walks of life, but they all have these things in common: willing, caring hearts and hands ready to serve. They really do help us with our dream of building a world without cancer by giving time and energy for the benefit of others in their community, as a social responsibility, rather than for any financial reward.”

As a non-profit organisation, CANSA relies heavily on its approximately 7 000 trained volunteers to help fight against cancer, in their local communities. CANSA celebrates International Volunteer Day by hosting special functions country-wide at CANSA Care Centres, to acknowledge and thank these selfless individuals and also to raise awareness about their significant role in the fight against cancer.

“Our volunteers are valued and appreciated assets, helping staff across the country, to educate local communities about the importance of awareness of the signs of cancer, regular cancer screening and living a balanced lifestyle to lower the cancer risk. They also provide care and support to cancer patients and loved ones, or assist with administrative or fundraising tasks,” adds Joubert.

Volunteers often personally affected by cancer

Volunteers have often been personally affected by cancer – either being cancer Survivors themselves or knowing someone who is. Others simply seek to help relieve the cancer burden in their communities. Volunteering also provides the opportunity to learn many skills that can be added to a CV and carried into a career, including leadership, meeting management, counselling, event organising and communication skills.

Sharon Fransman, CANSA volunteer explains,

“Often cancer Survivors are just looking for someone who is willing to listen. When you volunteer you become one of the most important companions on their cancer journey.”

CANSA volunteers are selected, trained and supported by staff. They can choose to serve where their strengths lie. Training is provided regarding health promotion, patient care and support, advocacy, fundraising as well as marketing and admin.

Joubert concludes.

“CANSA needs volunteers to partner with us in local communities. We invite you to get involved where you live, by signing up at your local CANSA Care Centre or signing up online via CANSA website.”

Call the local CANSA centre, situated at 19A Northey Street, on 013 656 5420 or the manager, Andries du Preez: 072 248 9424 if you are interested in becoming a local CANSA volunteer.

Ten reasons you should volunteer

Develop transferable skills
Employers are looking for skills that are easily transferred to different areas, like teamwork, interpersonal communication, public speaking, time management, leadership, organisation, analysis, computer skills, problem solving and creative thinking. Plus, learning to be dependable and responsible will prepare you to be a good employee.

Build your CV
If you’ve never had a job, then volunteering is a perfect way to add work-related experience to your CV. Even if you have had multiple jobs, volunteering can bene¬t you because it shows the employer you are serious about getting involved and improving your skills.

Having contacts in the business world may lead to jobs. Interacting with different people in a volunteer setting could open doors for you as an applicant.

Learn things you can’t learn in the classroom
Be exposed to different parts of the community, different cultures, beliefs and values. Learning about new things can shape a path. Plus, you will be able to see how things you are learning in the classroom apply to the real world.

Make new friends
Who wouldn’t want another opportunity to make more friends? You may see the same people every day at school, university or colleges but volunteering will expose you to a different crowd, most likely with similar interests.

Get a reference
Getting that ¬first job can be diffi¬cult, especially without work experience. Employers always check references and having someone else who can speak about your work ethic and abilities can be valuable. Make sure you treat any volunteer opportunity like a job by being on time, asking for time off and providing ample notice when you decide to leave.

Explore career opportunities
It’s hard to know what you want to do with your life by reading a job profle. There are many assessments and tools to help in this process but volunteering can be just as effective. You will see first-hand what professionals in various fields do. You may have an eyeopening experience that gives your life different direction.

Do some good
Volunteering allows you to get involved with a worthy cause and potentially change lives and make a difference. You will learn to have empathy and to see the world from a different perspective.

Volunteering isn’t a full-time commitment
Volunteer hours can be minimal. Part-time on weekends or during the week will still help you accomplish your volunteer goals. Most volunteer commitments allow you time to still be heavily involved at school, university or college or to work part time.

You will enjoy it!
It feels good to help other people and know you are making a difference in the ¬ght against cancer. Volunteering can be a fun way to get involved in great programmes that help your fellow community members.

Amanda Botha

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