Working Gear would not exist without our volunteers. As a way to pay gratitude, as well as inspire, Volunteer Stories is series of interviews that highlight our volunteers’ hard work as well as their experiences with Working Gear. We are excited to introduce our diverse family of volunteers to the Working Gear community.
Manuel Rodas-Otero is Working Gear’s Shop Stylist
Hello, my name is Manuel. I’ve been living in British Columbia for two years now and I must say, it is truly a paradise out here. Before moving out here, I lived in Edmonton for the majority of my life. My time out there was mostly made up of bad and difficult experiences. So I made the decision and left everything behind, this resulted in me coming out to the Lower Mainland with almost nothing, just a bag of some clothes and $100 in my pocket. I was introduced to Working Gear and picked up a pair of boots along with some work clothes to help me get started with my new life in Vancouver. I was scared and nervous, however; the volunteers at Working Gear were kind and extremely helpful. Bless you, volunteers for the help. Now, I’m back up on my feet, and focusing on my dreams and goals. To this day, I am forever grateful for Working Gear and volunteer in the shop helping others that are in similar situations to the one I was in.
Q. How long have you been involved with Working Gear?
A. Since February of 2016
Q. What are the reasons you got involved with volunteering with Working Gear?
A. Paying it forward. I have been in a rut myself and was blessed with people helping me out, so I want to give back and in any way that I can.
Q.What is your view on Volunteering?
A. We live in a tough world, It’s important to help out those in need. Not just with WG but with any organization you are interested volunteering with.
Q. What is the most rewarding thing about volunteering in Working Gear?
A. The biggest reward is watching the client’s transformation- from when they walk into Working Gear all nervous and looking a bit down to when we help them and they walk out with the biggest smiles on their faces. Seeing this really warms the heart.
Q. How do you keep from burning out in your volunteer role, how do you find balance?
A. Volunteering at Working Gear is very flexible and helps prevent burn out. I like how I am able to pick and choose which days I want to come in and volunteer. Saturday mornings are perfect for me to come in and help out since I am busy with full-time work during the week, however, I do try to come in here and there during the week as well.
Q. What’s your best advice for people to get involved but don’t know where to start?
A. Everyone is on some sort of social media platform. Look up WG or visit our website at http://workinggear.ca/ and click on the “Get Started” link. We appreciate all the help we can get!