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.
Sharla Daviduik (BSc’95) is the manager of the administrative support group in the College of Arts & Science at the U of S. Sharla volunteers with the Saskatoon Open Door Society and Girl Guides of Canada as a leader of the 58th Saskatoon Brownie unit.
What specifically attracted you to volunteering?
I was looking for an “extracurricular” activity and for ways to become more involved in my community. Girl Guides of Canada had a table on campus at the U of S during National Volunteer Week in 2002 and I put my name down on a whim. They called me back and now I’m still involved in the organization 15 years later.
What keeps you motivated to continue to volunteer?
Volunteering is a way to put my values into action. I now see the role I have with Girl Guides as a way to provide a space for girls to build up their confidence and to realize how capable they are. Secondly, I find volunteering to be incredibly rewarding — it’s an opportunity for me to make a positive impact in the community and to improve my own skills. Finally, I have a lot of fun with my Brownies and I have learned so much about different cultures from the people who attend the Conversation Circles at the Saskatoon Open Door Society.
What types of relationships and learning experience have you taken away from volunteering?
I have made some of my best friends through Girl Guides. I’ve learned a lot about leadership. I think I learned more about leadership from Girl Guides than anywhere else and I am using these leadership skills in my current job. Volunteering at the Open Door Society has allowed me to learn about other cultures and countries, and has really made me think hard about how to explain the idiosyncrasies of the English language.
What is your vision for the future of volunteering?
I think that volunteering is going to become even more important than it is now, given some of the trends we are seeing in the world. I became involved with the Open Door Society because I wanted to help refugees from Syria who were coming to Saskatoon. If people are looking for a way to help, volunteering is a very positive way to do so.
How do you aim to inspire others to get involved?
I think all volunteers can do to get others involved is to lead by example, and to be welcoming and inclusive when others want to be involved. For example, if we only need four parents to help us at Brownies, and eight volunteer, they are all welcome.