Changing the world, one volunteer at a time

Making the world a better place isn’t as hard as it sounds. Jack Layton’s iconic last letter serves as a beacon for generations to pick up the task of caring and reaching out to others and for inspiring them to initiate positive change in their communities. Here’s the beauty of it: now is the perfect time to start.

Starting this month, ACCESS U and the Community Service Learning Centre (CSL) are teaming up to provide a conduit for Wilfrid Laurier University students to help children read, write and play in the Waterloo community. It’s a noble effort to show students that there are a plethora of eager-minded children out there who are less fortunate but incredibly capable of excelling in school. These children need good role models to constantly remind them that positivity will help them prevail and that staying focused and active will lead them to affluence.

The CSL has designed the Certificate Program for Volunteerism with Children and Youth that aims to empower Laurier students. For far too long, Laurier students have felt that getting involved in a campus club has meant that the Laurier community was the boundary. There are, however, certain clubs, such as Laurier Students for Learning, ACCESS U and many others who strive to provide opportunities for students in both the Laurier and Waterloo communities.

The Waterloo community, believe it or not, is not just about Phil’s and Revolution Nightclub – it’s so much more than that. There are numerous non-profit organizations that are desperately looking for students to become active volunteers. Two of the organizations that are affiliated with the Certificate Program are Strong Start and House of Friendship.

Strong Start, as an example, addresses the issue of child literacy in the Kitchener-Waterloo community. Their goal is to ensure that all young children learn how to read. Many of us overlook the fact that there are children in a developed country such as Canada who are deprived of the ability to read. If you are reading this, chances are that you received a sound education when you were younger. Let’s ensure that all children have the same opportunity to do so.

Reaching out to your community provides you with the ever-so important revelation that there are many gaps to fill in this world. These gaps need to start being filled at the grassroots level, and then, and only then, can we move up from there. Building a strong foundation from being involved and helpful in your community is definitely the first step towards being able to fix bigger national and world issues.

Talking to people allows you to recognize the diversity of people’s thoughts and ideas. The Certificate Program intends to allow Laurier students to interact and reflect upon the many different hopes, dreams, and aspirations of the youth in the Waterloo community. By knowing these things, we will be able to prepare a leveled playing field for these children to turn their dreams into reality.

Layton taught us that love, hope and optimism can change the world, and I think he’s right. Let’s show him how the Certificate Program is the continuity of this logic.

For more information on the Certificate Program, please contact

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