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National Volunteer Week – Why Bryan Lin turned extracurricular requirements into long-lasting commitments

April 23, 2021

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Most Canadian high school students are required to complete 40 hours of community service as a graduation requirement. Bryan Lin, Brand Manager for Consumer Wireless, originally set out to volunteer at Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital to complete his required high school student volunteer hours – and he’s been there ever since.

“I fell in love with the work that I was doing with the kids and with the relationships I built over time with the on-site support staff and healthcare team,” Bryan said. “So, I continued volunteering with them following high school and currently still support the organization.”

A long-term volunteer with both Holland Bloorview and, since university, Borderless World Volunteers, Bryan’s community involvement started in his young adult years, and continues to hold a permanent place in his life. He shared a few more details with us on what he does with these organizations and why he gives back.

Tell us a little bit about the organizations you support. We’d love to hear more about them!

I’ve been working with Borderless World Volunteers since 2007, first as a volunteer and now as a member of the Board of Directors, Marketing. My role as a volunteer included laying the foundations of what became annual fundraising and international development programs, in addition to assisting with local grassroots programs at food banks and homeless shelters. My current role on the Board of Directors is to provide strategic and operational guidance in an advisory capacity to help each chapter of the organization accomplish its yearly objectives in grassroots local & international development programs, and fundraising.

I began volunteering with Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in 2006, so for the past 15 years, I’ve been working with children and youth clients with disabilities (as young as six years old) to help with developing their socialization and communication skills, inspire their learning, reinforcing positive behaviour, mentoring, and physical support. Through the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital Foundation, I’ve supported financially through fundraising efforts.

What inspires you to volunteer and give back to your community?

Volunteering allows me to remind myself of my roots, my background and struggles, and where I come from when I was much younger and growing up. It allows me to make connections with individuals who share a similar experience as I once did and make a difference (even if it is just tiny moments at a time) in their everyday lives. Volunteering has been a fantastic outlet for learning from others and fostering my own personal growth as well. These are some of the reasons I fell in love with volunteering in the first place and why I continue to prioritize and dedicate my time to it. I’ve met many wonderful people through volunteering and it makes me feel like I’ve contributed something positive back to the community.  

Do you have any words of encouragement you’d like to share with others who are looking to become more involved with their community?

People are motivated to volunteer for a wide variety of reasons. Whatever your motivation or reason is, if you decide to volunteer, it is important that you find something that is meaningful to yourself and something that you are passionate about first. If you find that something you love and enjoy doing, you’ll be able to transform the world around you by sharing that joy.