After returning from a military deployment with the Canadian Forces, Kyle Huisman was inspired by his long-time friend to step up and help his community.
After seeing the success of Bryan Kluke’s organization, Capital City Clean Up, and getting a feel for what volunteer work was like, Huisman signed up with the Volunteer Ottawa Hub and now gives his time to multiple organizations around the city.
“Kluke started a group all on his own. The amount of work he put into it and to see where Capital City Clean Up is now, it’s actually incredible,” says Huisman. “I figured if he’s giving back this much to his community, I wanted to do something as well to give back instead of sitting on the sidelines.”
After putting his name in the Volunteer Ottawa Hub, Huisman connected with Shelter Movers Ottawa, a group that helps relocate clients from stressful or uncomfortable situations.
“For clients who are going through a very stressful time, even the littlest support can really help them out. You can hear it in the way they say thank you. It takes a lot of the stress out of going from a spot they don’t want to be in, to a place they can start fresh in,” says Huisman.
“Even though all I am doing is physical labour, sometimes people will open up and tell you about their situation. If it helps them ventilate that stress or get to a more comfortable place to move forward, it’s just awesome knowing they’ll get to that space and keep on truckin’.”
While Huisman enjoys volunteering and donates his time to Canadian Blood Services, Capital City Clean Up and Shelter Movers Ottawa, he is still a member of the Canadian Forces and is committed to his full-time job. Despite the commitments people have in life, Huisman says even giving a couple hours of your time can make a big impact.
“If people are looking to help, Volunteer Ottawa Hub is a great place to start. You can go through the list of positions where volunteers are needed and it’s really quite comprehensive,” says Huisman.
“All you need to do is sign up and check it out. Not all positions are going to fit everyone. If you try a couple different spots, you will find something that is right for you, and you’ll find yourself having a good time and meeting great people.”
Huisman says the need for volunteers is not unique to Ottawa. Under the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations have lost their ability to do a lot of in person support. Even if it is online or through phone crisis help lines, there is a need for people to fill those roles.
“Giving blood or volunteering with Canadian Blood Services only really takes an hour, and Capital City Clean Up cleans up the city for about an hour or so at a time. It’s not really time extensive and it feels good to give something back,” says Huisman.
“There are lots of spots to search out and try. If you are too scared to try it, there is nothing that says you cannot bring a friend to help break that tension barrier. Just come out and have a great time in the beautiful weather.”
Huisman admits, he is new to volunteering and says there are so many dedicated people out there who need support to continue helping those in need and doing their organization’s work.