05 Sep Reflecting on the Summer at New Hope By Sophia Splane
When people asked me what I did as an intern at New Hope, my response was rarely the same as the time before – because every week was filled with surprises and new tasks. Here are a few of my best moments this summer:
Summer Programming with the Kids
Every week volunteers would come to help out with a kids program that consisted of games, walking to the park, and making crafts. I loved it when I would knock on a door to invite each household to the program, and immediately there would be a rumble from inside. The door would open and the kids would spill out onto the hallway floor, in a chorus of “Hi Sophia!!”
As the kids grew closer together in the summer, the hallways and common areas became noisier as more kids started playing together. It was hard to work in the office with all of the chaos, but the noise was evidence of friendship and community. The kids are truly the heartbeat of New Hope.
It remains my firm belief that food is what brings people together. Community dinners, full of lively conversation and laughter, are some of my favourite memories. But so were the quiet times sitting in residents’ living rooms, drinking tea, and trying to understand each other’s stories through a few words of English and many gestures. New Hope knows that food is so valuable in building relationships. No matter our stories or our country of birth, we can share in our humanity over a meal.
Something I’ve learned for the future
Volunteers are the backbone of non-profit organizations. So be intentional with where you volunteer! Working at New Hope this summer was the first time that I received volunteers as a staff member, to help with kids programs. In this experience I learned that coming prepared and with experience can make a huge difference in an organization. If I have learned anything for volunteering in the future, it is that just being a body to fill a position isn’t enough. Look for a position where you really believe that you have skills and intentions that can make a difference.