Volunteer Profile

Robyn Wisken and the Ryerson University School of Social Work

FYFB has developed an important relationship with the Ryerson University School of Social Work which requires undergraduate students to complete two intensive field placements as part of the degree program.

This level of field training makes Ryerson's program unique and non-profits such as FYFB benefit greatly from the placement students. Since October 2006, 3rd year student Robyn Wisken has been serving at FYFB for two full days a week, in addition to attending Board and Special Event meetings. FYFB caught up with Robyn as she completed her term to learn more about her experience at FYFB

What attracted you to a placement at FYFB?

I liked that FYFB was a community-based organization. And, the opportunity to be involved in the outreach program as well as the advocacy and counselling interested me.

What role did you play at FYFB?

I was involved in a broad range of activities, from helping out with the food program, to doing outreach with the special events committee. During the day, I would conduct advocacy interviews, helping people with issues such as housing and employment. Often it is just letting clients tell where they come from, to let them say what they have to say that gives them their power back.

Over the past several months I've been very involved in our new Senior's initiative. Our goal is to get more seniors involved in FYFB as volunteers. This helps to reduce isolation among seniors and gets them back in the community, which is what FYFB is all about. Seniors have a lot of life experience and wisdom to share with our clients. And we also have a number of clients who are seniors.

» » click here for information about our Senior's Programs (*.pdf document)

What have you learned through your placement?

I learned a lot of things I didn't anticipate learning. Like how important perspective is. How important community really is. And I learned a lot from the volunteers. They take care of each other. At FYFB, everyone has an opportunity to learn of each other. To share their own experiences. All the volunteers make a family - it keeps you motivated.

How has your placement at FYFB influenced your perspectives on the non-profit sector?

It reinforced the power of community for me. It's amazing what people can do when they are aware of the needs.

There is also a different vibe at FYFB than other non-profit organizations. There's a real honesty and openness. A large amount of trust is put into people. And, as a result, people are willing to go the extra mile because they are valued. Clients come back and help at FYFB because they were helped when they needed it.

Is there any moment that stands out in your mind from your time at FYFB?

What stands out in my mind is the banter among the volunteers. It makes the place fun to be at. It makes it positive. If someone was down a bit, it would bring them back up.

On behalf of everyone at FYFB, we want to thank you for your contributions to the organization over the past seven months.

It was a learning experience on many levels and I really appreciated the opportunity.

Volunteer orientation sessions are held at 2:00pm on the 2nd and 4th Saturday of each month. Click here to register online or drop by the Food Bank for more information.


photography courtesy of Claire Del Net www.clairedelnet.com.


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