As the Volunteer Summit on March 25 approaches, we are profiling our many alumni who have contributed their time, talent or treasure to important causes and organizations.
Nicole Sarauer (JD’09) is the MLA for Regina Douglas Park. She has served as a volunteer with the Regina Sexual Assault Centre; a board member for Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers; a board member of Regina’s chapter of Amnesty International; and a volunteer and board member with the YWCA Big Sisters program.
What specifically attracted you to volunteering?
First, to give back and get more involved in my community. I strongly believe that a life of service to others is a life worth living. A life spent serving yourself can get dull quite quickly. Second, to meet new people. I have had the opportunity, through volunteering, of getting to know some of the most inspiring and incredible people. They have been both mentors and friends to me.
What was your first volunteer experience?
My volunteering really took shape at the beginning of university; it started with the 24-hour sexual assault hotline through what is now called the Regina Sexual Assault Centre. That was an eye-opening and humbling experience for me. I learned about the structural barriers that many face in our society, as well as problems with accessing the justice system.
What keeps you motivated to continue volunteering?
I keep motivated to volunteer through the feeling of helping others and being a positive contact in someone’s life, even if I can’t solve all of their problems. I know it’s trite to say that I feel some days that I get more out of volunteering than I give, but the statement rings true.
What types of relationships and learning experience have you taken away from volunteering?
I’ve met incredibly passionate people, all of whom I look up to and many of whom I call friends.
I’ve learned about the barriers and injustice that exist in our own community, many of which people often overlook or are invisible to those who are more fortunate. I’ve learned that you can never tell what the person next to you is dealing with in their lives. I’ve learned that the most rewarding experiences in life come from helping to make positive changes, however small, in the lives of others.
What is your proudest moment/accomplishment from your volunteering experience?
Whether it was on the 24 hour sexual assault line or, more recently, working at the Free Legal Clinic through Pro Bono Law Saskatchewan, I am honoured that people give me the opportunity to be let into their lives. I think that is very difficult to do when you have felt rejected or ignored by society.
What is your vision for the future of volunteering? How do you aim to inspire others to get involved?
My hope is that others learn about the issues of inequality in their own neighbourhoods and realize that anyone can make an impact.