Community involvement and getting involved in campaigns and organizations that reach beyond the McGill context is a great way to enhance your student experience, while also helping to contribute to the wider Montreal community. Community involvement aids in fostering safety and equity beyond the university context, through students engaging with pressing issues that are negatively affecting those around them. Moreover, it promotes interconnectivity between students and those living in the community, through collaboration or through one party helping the other. These connections are essential in promoting sustainable and safe community environments.
Participating in the community is important because:
It links student campaigns to larger social struggles
It provides context and connections to concepts learned in class
Students can network with a wider pool of mentors who have a diversity of knowledge and backgrounds, enabling exposure to new ways of doing things
It helps foster projects that can continue on past your academic career
Here are some databases that can hopefully inspire you to break out of the “McGill bubble”:
QPIRG offers students a variety of community-based research projects.
McGill Internship Offices
These offices can help you connect with local, national, and international organizations that are seeking interns.
SSMU Volunteer Database
This database includes a wide range of Montreal organizations seeking volunteers.
SSMU’s Community Outreach and Volunteering Clubs page
Idealist Volunteer Resources
This website offers both resources and information related to volunteering locally and abroad.
CaPS Volunteer Reading List
A reading list compiled by McGill’s Career Planning Service (CaPS), containing sources related to volunteering.
Montreal Volunteer Bureau
The Montreal Volunteer Bureau helps connect those who want to volunteer with community organizations seeking help.
These centres seek to heighten levels of citizen engagement within their communities through connecting volunteers with organizations in need of help.
This website is a database of over 80 organizations seeking both people to volunteer and work payed positions.
McGill CaPs Resources Hub
This resource page is a compilation of listings posted by organizations that are seeking both volunteers and to hire students for paid positions.
If you’re looking for some more specific suggestions, below are some examples of common places McGill students go to become involved in the Montreal community:
The Yellow Door
The Yellow Door runs programs to empower youth in the montreal community to to “initiate and engage in community and creative projects that promote social inclusion, combat urban isolation across all generations, and spark positive societal change.”
Community Engagement Day (McGill)
Held on and around September 8, 2017, Community Engagement Day is an annual project run by the Social Equity and Diversity Education (SEDE) Office “that aims to celebrate and recognize community engagement efforts connecting McGill to Montreal community groups and organizations.”
Alternative Spring Break
Alternative Spring Break is an initiative open to all McGill students that takes place during Reading Week, and “engages students with five days of volunteering, learning, and interacting with the local, Montreal community. Students will get to immerse themselves in social justice topics by working with local groups and organizations.”
Homework Zone is “an after-school mentoring program connecting McGill University student volunteers with elementary school students in under-served neighbourhoods of Montréal.”
Spaghetti Nights Family Workshops
Spaghetti Nights Family Workshops are a “series of free, monthly, two-hour workshops for parents, guardians and families developed through a collaboration between SEDE and the Riverview Community Learning Centre (CLC).” They are always looking for McGill students to volunteer at the Spaghetti Nights Daycare.
Teen Mentoring Program at Maison des Jeunes Côtes-des-Neige
Maison des Jeunes Côte-des-Neiges and SEDE are looking for mentors/tutors to work in a Teen Mentoring Program, helping a group of high school youth with their Math, Science and French homework. Must be fluent in French.
Ronteweiénstha Tehontatia'takéhnhen is “a Mohawk phrase that means students helping students. Ronteweiénstha Tehontatia'takéhnhen is an after school-tutoring program at the Kahnawa:ke Survival School that starts in late September/early October each year.” Open to all McGill students, no deadline to apply.
Experiential Community-Engaged Learning and Research
Formerly referred to as Community Service-Learning (CSL), Experiential Community-Engaged Learning and Research (ExCELR) is “‘a teaching and learning approach that integrates volunteer community work with academic study to enrich learning, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.’ Students who participate in classes with a ExCELR option have the opportunity to work on a project with a community organization, and apply the learning that occurs in this community setting to their academic studies.”
Head and Hands
Head and Hands is a non-profit organization that works to promote and enhance the physical and mental health of youths in Montreal.