Perhaps we need to rewrite the definition of volunteerism. Once defined as “the principle of donating time and energy for the benefit of others without financial reward,” it would be hard to argue against expanding that to include the phrase “for example, Lisa Herberman.”
The Brescia University College graduate, Bachelor of Science (Honors Food and Nutrition), crossed the stage at Alumni Hall last week, completing what has been a wonderful time in her life.
“I got involved in so many things and have never made as many friends as I did while I was here,” says Herberman, who has applied for dentistry school. “I definitely have a void in my life now that I’m out, but the university definitely shaped the person I am today and helped me discover what I wanted to do in life.”
Whatever that something ends up being, it will most assuredly include volunteering as a component. Thousands volunteer, but Herberman takes it to the next level.
While balancing her academic career, she found time to help the Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil and Pink Ribbon campaigns; aid colon cancer’s ‘giant colon’ event; rescue animals from abusive environments through Animal Love Association; teach swimming to Parkinson’s and stroke victims through the Bay Crest Hospital Wagman Centre; become a Big Sister to a London girl named Grace; and sell pink rubber bracelets (Relieve, Recovery, Rebuild) for Haitian relief.
Also, two summers ago during a break from her studies, the Toronto native remained in London to work for Public Outreach, an agency dedicated to building a sustainable charitable sector.
Raising funds for the likes of Greenpeace, Amnesty International, Red Cross and Doctors without Borders, Herberman’s dedication to the cause earned her a scholarship as the best fundraiser in Canada.
“There are a lot of different causes that are close to me, and I think I volunteer for the right reasons,” she says. “Everything I’ve done has been about helping others. I love giving back to others. I find by doing so, by uplifting people’s lives and bettering their lives, I’ve also found a lot of fulfillment in my life. I really realize my abilities, my passion and my gift, so it’s definitely helped me as well.”
Herberman says her close family ties play a huge role in who she is and how she conducts herself. Prior to attending Brescia, she spent three years at The University of Western Ontario (kinesiology) before taking off a semester off to care for her grandmother who was diabetic and had a heart condition.
Her family’s bond and the example they set, Herberman adds, keeps her focused on helping in her community.
“You need to have good management skills, but if you really like what you do, you’ll find time for it. It doesn’t seem tedious; it becomes second nature to you. I know it’s something that will always continue,” she says. “They always say you’re a part of your mom and dad, and when it comes to volunteering and giving back, that couldn’t be more true. They have, and continue to be, a great example for me.”