Laura McArthur’s passion for helping others has drawn her to a career in psychology, and recently, to volunteering at New Directions’ Supported Independent Living (SIL) program.
Laura volunteers once a week, providing counselling services to the program’s individuals. Many individuals supported by New Directions need help with social and relationship issues, and Laura has found great fulfillment in connecting with program participants and offering them a helpful ear. “Being able to go on the journey with them as they overcome obstacles and discover their strengths has been an amazing experience.”
Laura’s sessions can last anywhere from minutes to hours, and everyone has a different and unique story to share. “Sometimes it’s just nice to bounce ideas and experiences off people,” she explains. “Counselling is an incredibly important skill– we all just need someone to listen and give advice to us every now and then.” Laura appreciates every individual who walks into her office and aims to offer support and guidance to all.
When asking Laura what her favourite part of volunteering is, she says this is a tough one because there are so many. She describes how every time someone trusts her with their truth and their story, it’s special. She mentions one specific heartwarming moment that comes to mind; “It made me grin from ear to ear when I heard someone say ‘Hey! The nice counsellor lady just walked in!’”
Laura has learned a lot through volunteering with New Directions and looks forward to it every week. Building connections, listening to life stories and journeys, and being a positive figure in the individual’s life are just a few of the ways Laura has helped the community at SIL.
“The individuals at SIL have shown me that beauty and joy exist in places that I never thought to look,” she says.
For more information about volunteering, visit https://newdirections.mb.ca/volunteer/