I’m nearing the end of a seven-week communication contract with the MS Society of Canada, in their BC & Yukon Division office at Metrotown in Burnaby.
I’ve been freelance editing and writing from my home office for nearly 15 years, so the thought of commuting and working at “a real job” in “a real office” with a bunch of strangers was a tad intimidating. I haven’t worked in an office since my journalism days in Tokyo back in the late 1990s.
But from the first day, all those apprehensions vanished.
The office atmosphere has been congenial, with warm, friendly folks eager to show me the ropes. It helps that there are lots of volunteers rotating in and out of the office every day, so staff are accustomed to guiding newbies.
It doesn’t hurt that it turns out that there are two other Royal Roads University grads with the MA in Professional Communication in the office :-). Another common link.
In addition to some social media and document editing work, one of my main tasks has been interviewing MS Ambassadors — people living with MS, researchers, and volunteers — who are willing to speak to the public and media about the disease, and to get additional training in public speaking and media relations. I’ve been writing up long and short ambassador bios that the society, and the ambassadors, can use in their outreach efforts.
It’s been an educational and inspirational experience chatting with these folks, and writing stories about their relationships with MS. The human spirit is amazing.
I’ve also had the opportunity to put my photography skills to use, documenting an MS Ambassador workshop in November, and popping by the gift-wrap booth in Metrotown near Winners several times to shoot a few of the nearly 200 volunteers wrapping gifts by donation to help #endMS. Got some gifts at Metrotown? The volunteers will be there during mall hours through Dec. 24.