Outreach in the Department of Mathematics offers a variety of programs every year and those programs could only be possible because of its volunteers. Whether a volunteer offers their help in a one-time event, or throughout a specific time frame, the volunteer makes a huge difference in each program.
Programs by Math Outreach include, but are not limited to, the Canadian Open Math Competition, Tournament of the Towns, and Math Kangaroo.
In the Canadian Open Math Competition, volunteers with strong math skills and competition experience would mark tests, while in Tournament of the Towns, volunteers with strong research mathematics skills would be either be invigilators or markers. Math Kangaroo would need volunteers to play the role of group leaders, makers, and invigilators.
Why is it that people volunteer not only for Math Outreach, but for other organizations? What prompted volunteers to help make life better for others? A grade 12 student who volunteered for Math Outreach's Summer Math Camp answered, "I needed hours for my high school diploma and I had participated in many activities in which there were volunteers, so this was a way for me to give something back." Similarly, Rick Ross, an alumni, stated that volunteering for the Summer Kangaroo Camp, "gives a feeling that I am helping people and not just making money," and that "I am fortunate and believe I want to give something back." Finally, a lecturer in the Math Department stated that, "volunteering allows you to contribute to the causes you believe in. While volunteering with the Math Department I learned valuable new skills, made connections with interesting people, and realized that I have the ability to impact the world in positive ways". The ability to give back to a community through volunteering is a very appreciated one.
There are highlights that come with volunteering as well. Such highlights include meeting new people, gaining work experience, learning new things, and, of course, making a difference. The grade 12 student who volunteered for the Summer Math Camp stated that the highlight of being a volunteer was, "meeting people and being around the University of Toronto campus and Math Department." When the student was asked about the social environment, they replied with, "Great place with lots of nice people made volunteering a very enjoyable experience."
In addition to meeting new people and creating a meaningful connection with them, being a volunteer helps one gain work experience. Do employers look for people that are commuted to volunteering? Rick Ross answered that, Yes. It shows a person is well-rounded and caring." As for the highlight of being able to learn something new, the lecturer in the Math Department stated that, “I believe that math is the universal language. Volunteering with the Department of Mathematics allows me opportunities to help people connect using that language.”
The ability to make a difference is just as important as well. Rick Ross stated that his favourite moments of being a volunteer include, "Having people tell me something I did changed their lives for the better."The lecturer in the Math Department stated, "When I find the time and opportunities to volunteer, my goal is to join in and feel a part of something greater than myself." Whether a volunteer's contribution is a one-time event, or a commitment to a specific time frame, the differences a volunteer makes in lives are all equally amazing.
If you want to get involved check out our Get Involved page.