Rajatpreet Singh: ReStore Volunteer

What do you enjoy most about your volunteer experience with Habitat GTA?

I love that I meet new volunteers each time I go in store and sometimes I even get a chance to teach new people. Not only this, working with others in doing group tasks like assembling or moving furniture and organizing the store really builds up a bond amongst all. The most important part is that I get to practice the concept of diversity and equity by serving the community, which is really a rejoice.

What have you found rewarding about your volunteer role?

I volunteer to give back to the community. When I am able to help a customer to solve his/her problem, they thank me with a broad grin, which is really satisfying. That appreciation is my gift.

What new things do you feel you have learned while volunteering?

I gained knowledge about different kinds of hardware and their installation methods. For instance, I now know the difference between a French door and a regular door and how to fix each one of them. Moreover, I learned how to use a drill safely from one of my fellow volunteers, a task which I dreaded initially.

Do you have any stories or experiences that stand out from your time volunteering?

I come from India which is one of the most diverse countries of the world so respecting diversity is something that I have been practicing since childhood. I feel lucky to be part of Habitat in Region of Peel as I got a plethora of chances to work along various ethnic groups and people who need special help. One time, it was a very busy afternoon. I finished helping a customer and saw another gentleman who had an injured leg and was walking with a couple of walking sticks. I saw him glancing at some tiles, so I approached him to ask if he needed some to which he nodded. He was looking for tiles for his room but wasn’t able to make a choice. I took the initiative to solve his problem. I inquired about his room’s dimensions, color choice and his budget. Once I got all the information, I calculated the exact number of tiles that he needed. I advised him to buy the ones which matched his description and were on sale. I lifted those 10 boxes into his car one by one. He was so delighted, and he said that humanity still exists.

What thoughts would you share with a new volunteer who is just starting their journey with Habitat GTA?

I would say every volunteer should know that he/she will be respected for their time and effort in store. The staff will be super friendly, and the manager shall assist you so they needn’t worry about training. They can learn how to work in a team, serve the community, get proficient in new skills like building furniture, safe usage of machines, leading group projects, and presenting new ideas to make the store a better place. With such an approach volunteer premises shall become an entertaining place.