Discovering your Calling through Volunteering

Volunteers at the Boys & Girls Club come from a variety of backgrounds, ages, and levels of experience. From one hour a week as a mission support volunteer, helping out in a variety of activity areas, to groups of local professionals who take time to beautify our Clubs over the weekend, we have many opportunities and areas for folks to get involved.

In our community, we’ve found that one of the best developers of volunteers are local universities and community colleges. Many schools have community service built in to their programs, or strongly encourage young adults to seek out work experience by volunteering.

Kevin Lai, Wattles Club volunteerMeet Kevin

Kevin Lai one of those young professionals who gained relevant work experience as part of their major. From last November through the spring semester, he volunteered at Wattles Club to complete practicum hours as part of his Community Development major at Portland State University.

Kevin has known about Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro since high school, and was eager to get started. He believes “kids are the future,” and enjoys working directly with youth to empower them to pursue their Great Futures. The work he does in the Club connects directly back to one of the tenants of community development, “working from the roots.” At Wattles Club, he gained valuable experience in his field while making a positive impact on the community.

His favorite memory? Being nominated for a Star of the Week award. The Club member who nominated him later expressed how much Kevin hanging out and being there to talk had meant. “It showed me how I’m making an impact on the kids. My presence is what mattered most,” said Kevin, reflecting on his time at the Wattles Club. For him, “seeing the kids’ happy faces every day” has been the most rewarding aspect of volunteering, and not just the skills and work experience he’s gained.

How can you discover or develop your passions through volunteering?

Kevin is now applying for jobs with the City of Portland. His message to other young professionals is to volunteer, because it will “help them discover what they love and want to do as a career.” He encourages other students to research volunteer opportunities in the community and go from there. Hands On of Greater Portland and are great places to start looking. There are plenty of opportunities to gain relevant experience in a variety of fields just by giving a little bit of your time back to the community. Whether you’re majoring in Community Development or Computer Science, there’s an organization out there that needs your skills. Just look for opportunities you connect with. It could change your life.

Kevin’s dedication to helping build Great Futures has been invaluable to our Clubs and the young people he has mentored. And for Kevin, the experience helped deepen and solidify his passion for Community Development, allowed him to reaffirm his path, and to explore the direction he wants his career to take. Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland Metro is so grateful for his time and dedication, and for all the amazing volunteers who come to us from college programs to help us continue our mission.

Volunteer at the Clubs

If you’re looking for a fulfilling volunteer opportunity working with youth, and are interested in exploring your interests and gaining real-world experiences that can influence your career, start by filling out our volunteer application. We have open opportunities at each of our 10 Club locations across the Portland metro, from Rockwood, to Hillsboro, to the Milwaukie area.