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Finding The Fit

Published: Nov 30, 2021 @ 8:32 AM

a magnifying glassThere are over 4000 organizations on VolunteerConnector so every day there are new opportunities posted to inspire and engage people in their communities. There is a shoe for every foot- you can be remote, in person, one time or frequent, options galore for causes! Thanks to all these organizations for creating innovative ways for people to engage. Here are a couple interesting ones that have caught our eye over the past couple weeks: 

This one from John Humphrey Centre for Peace and Human Rights - reasearch ... Love that it is open to anyone across Canada and that volunteers will learn/utilize qualitative and quantitative research skills! 

This one at the Alex - hairdresser ... Love that it’s an opportunity for someone to share their skill set to lift people’s self esteem. 

This one at the Brockville Public Library - library friend ... Love that you can feel the energy from the “why volunteer” section- super fun group of people indeed! 

 

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Taking VolunteerConnector Into The Streets!

Published: Nov 23, 2021 @ 8:41 AM

The awesome people in Lloydminster, Alberta/Saskatchewan are promoting volunteerism in their community in a cool way! Check out these eye-catching street side motivators that encourage people to get connected in their community. Volunteers are essential to creating thriving communities and we love working with innovative communities like Lloydminster to engage their citizens in meaningful community work! 

 

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Don't We All Want To Leave This World Better Than We Found It? - Guest Blog

Published: Nov 17, 2021 @ 11:22 AM

I have been volunteering for 38 years.  Yes, that’s sad to say, but I’ve been volunteering since I was 4. My Dad was a captain in the Salvation Army, so I grew up volunteering. When I was 4 I would help people with many different mental illnesses and disabilities put bath beads into containers at the warehouse my Dad ran. That was it. I was hooked! I loved that there was an adult that not only loved giving me attention, but also would listen to me and take my advice! I was bossy from an early age, so I was in heaven.  It was so fun explaining how to carefully put those bath beads into place! 

At 5 I would volunteer at the Children’s Village, helping the foster children. My life was always centred around service. My parents tried to teach me that it is better to give than to receive. A lesson that I can easily lose sight of.

As a teenager I would volunteer for the 30 Hour Famine. Which I was never able to complete without caving and eating a chocolate bar or soup.

Then as an adult my first volunteer position was in the classroom. Once again I was thrilled!  Now I was able to not only give instructions, but also be worshiped as an all knowing educator. This made me laugh almost as hard as those eager little grade 3’s did.  It seemed like half of the  boys proposed to me. Sadly, I had to break their sweet little hearts. I especially loved how they would sweeten the pot by promising me that I could either date their fathers or wait until they grew up to be rich hockey players.  

I continued to volunteer in elementary classrooms until this day.  It even inspired me to get my own teaching degree. Although teaching was not the career for me, I still have a huge sense of accomplishment every time I look at that degree.  

I find the value of volunteering is the appreciation and the sense of having achieved something. Don’t we all want to leave this world better than we found it? Volunteering gives us the opportunity to help do that by aiding people in our community. I find that I get a high from random acts of kindness. It makes me feel better about myself and helps me feel like a better person. It can also help me escape the tunnel of self involvement or despair that I can easily fall into without realizing it. This year has been especially tough for all of us.  Volunteering has helped me to remember that it could be much, much worse. It helps remind me to count my blessings, not my troubles.

Thank you,

Kari PB

 

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Ash, Toques & Menstrual Products

Published: Nov 10, 2021 @ 9:53 PM

Welcome to the segment we like to call 'cool volunteerism that made national news' (open to alternative suggestions). Here are three stories about humans taking action to fill a need in their community in different ways. We all possess the capacity to change our communities and there are tons of options with how to go about it. You can donate your skill set to an organization that already exists, you can join with other like minded people to form an organization or you can be a human who does the organizing and partner with additional people!

A woman in Kenora, Ontario who stepped up where the provincial government did not to make sure ALL students in Ontario had access to menstrual products. (CBC News Article)

A group made up of art, culture and heritage professionals created the British Columbia Heritage Response Network support cultural institutions in planning for disaster response and collections salvage. They showed up in a big way in Lytton, British Columbia. (Globe & Mail News Article)

A young person in Calgary using her amazing skills in knitting to make sure 105 people in the city have warmer heads this winter. (CBC News Article)

So thank you Tania Cameron, Allysa Narang and the team at British Columbia Heritage Response Network for the good you are doing in your community! 

 

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We ❤️ the Volunteer Centre of St. Lawrence-Rideau

Published: Nov 2, 2021 @ 8:36 AM

The Volunteer Centre of St. Lawrence-Rideau has been serving Leeds & Grenville by providing leadership and community capacity for 40 years. Over the past 20 months, under the leadership of the very cool Mary Lynn Villeneuve they have mobilized even more of their community to support each other in meeting vital needs. Their financial literacy and employment program is renowned across the province. 

We are very excited that the Volunteer Centre of St. Lawrence-Rideau has come on board the VolunteerConnector, our first regional partner in Ontario!! We can't wait to visit and cruise the 1000 Islands and learn more about all the great things that are happening in the communities within Leeds & Grenville. 

 

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'Tis The Season

Published: Oct 27, 2021 @ 1:16 PM

a rake and leaves on a lawnNot sure what about the leaves changing makes us think about community but it seems like our mailboxes have been exploding in the past couple weeks with families, youth and children looking to volunteer in their community. It has been really great to connect with people wanting to engage in community as a multigenerational unit. Not all opportunities or organizations are set up to support this type of experience and that is ok! If you have been looking on volunteerconnector.org and nothing has caught your attention here are some other thoughts for you.

Think of an issue or something not sitting right with you about your community ... do something about it. Maybe you think your community needs another garbage bin and it should be a beautiful? Maybe there is a great view for somewhere but there is no bench? We know food security is an issue in every community so maybe sourcing a community fridge or pantry is where you could put some time and energy.

Look again on volunteerconnector.org, perhaps an opportunity does sound interesting but they do not explicitly say it for children, youth or families. Get in touch with the organization, they might not have considered how the role could be filled with family or someone under 20 years old. 

Raise some funds for something your family cares about. There are plenty of organizations doing work and would be happy to receive some extra funds. Especially when the covid has made those annual fundraisers more difficult to hold. 

Use google to look up some of the lists out of there for acts of kindness, do one, five, thirty, whatever you have time for. Giving is not just a cheque to a recognizable organization. It is how you show up and make sure everyone in your community feels seen. Buy coffee for the person behind you in line, make muffins for the new neighbours, chalk inspirational phrases on the sidewalk, handout flowers at the grocery store ... there are about 56,300,000 more google results so we feel confident there is something there. 

 

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Bringing Happiness - Guest Blog

Published: Oct 19, 2021 @ 2:12 PM

anime pianoI remember that was a celebration for Chinese New Year, people gathered at an activity center. I firstly wanted to just celebrate with them, and enjoy the festival, but some of my friends know that I can play the piano, and invited me to play some music for the party. 

Initially I was quite nervous cuz I didn’t practice during that period, and I was suddenly invited to play the piano for them. I actually was only a beginner to play it. I thought that would be a disaster for me, but somehow I am quite excited. Maybe that was because I really wanna share what music I like to others. I wanted to be focused on. 

Then, I started playing the piano. The music was from some of my favorite anime songs and soundtrack. I learned the piano version from piano tutorial videos on YouTube. That was the best I could play. During the performance, a lot of mistakes were made, but I tried not to make more. 

The good thing was, people in there didn’t know anything about anime, so slight mistakes was not noticed at all. Some elders quite enjoyed the music, kids stopped playing toys, and everyone looked at me. I suddenly realized, it doesn’t matter if my performance is perfect, the true valuable thing should be the happiness I brought. 

Gradually, I started to made fewer mistakes, till the finale, I forgot what to play, but I quickly came up with another one. I just followed the feeling I had when I moved my fingers and touched the keyboard. It was like the piano it self was alive and led my performance. 

I heard about some ideas of the nature of music, which might be the language made by the intelligence in higher dimensions in this universe. No matter if that is true, my performance and joy was conveyed. 

This is the story of one of my volunteering, which came all of a sudden, but valuable because bringing joy and happiness to the community is also what I want. 

Thank you,

Yilin Ge

 

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Racist Trauma & Self Care

Published: Oct 12, 2021 @ 10:35 AM

We have launched Micro-Volunteering on the Connector. Along with the first opportunity our good friend Dr. Moyo Mutamba has provided a reflection reminder for all of us to tend to self care and acknowledge that racist trauma can show up anywhere.

 

Dear Volunteer,

Completing a survey that stirs emotions connected to racist experiences can bring up trauma for others. We will all respond differently to racist trauma and do self-care in diverse ways. However, whether you draw on conscious or subconscious processing mechanisms to care for yourself, it is crucial to take a moment to feel, reflect, and engage with where the trauma is showing up in your body. Doing this will set you up well to reduce the long-term impacts of racist retraumatization. What has worked for me is a compassionate approach to self-care, which consists of the following steps: 

Notice

  • The experience- observe what you have gone through
  • Feelings- note the feelings you are holding at the moment
  • Physical response-note physical reactions and the parts they are inhabiting

Assess

  • Not the intensity of both the feelings and physical responses. Noticing the intensity allows one to not underreact or overreact, supporting you in considering the self-care that is proportional to the situation. 

Communicate

  • Say your feelings and self-talk out loud. Notice what your feelings and thoughts are asking you to do.

Breathe

  • Take a deep breath for each thought, physical response, feeling. Or take a deep breath for 3-5minutes. This will calm your activated nervous system.

Consider talking to someone about your experience if you get triggered often by racist encounters or reminders.

Take good care.

Dr.  Moyo Rainos Mutamba

Co-director and Facilitator, Bloom Consulting

 

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You Know It's Time To Go

Published: Oct 6, 2021 @ 7:58 AM

(title inspired by tswift's bonus track - shout out to Lauren!! 🙂) 

Not all relationships last forever and your volunteering journey is no different. Like jobs and significant others you will probably have a couple in your lifetime. Here are the seven signs that it is time to move on from your current volunteer role, take an exhale or find something different: 

  • If you dread going every week- that feeling in the pit of your stomach is real, listen to it. 
  • If you feel unsafe - maybe not something that you can pinpoint or maybe something that has shifted during these pandemic times but this is a boundary that you get to set and adhere to. 
  • If you feel unsupported- sometimes the work that you are doing can feel meaningful but it can also feel like you are sending it into a void.
  • If it is causing you more stress than the joy you get from it - relationships are complicated and it would be probably be easy to leave if it was all bad but chances are there are still some great things. If it feels messy, get out the pro/con list and see how it plays out. 
  • If you are not using your skills - you probably set out to share a talent or gain more experience in a certain area, things change and if that desire has been accomplished then it is time to search for other opportunities. 
  • If life has changed- millions of ways life can shift for any of us (as the past 18 months have demonstrated) there is also moving, jobs, kids, family, illness, travel, priorities, renovations, other commitments sometimes something has to come off the plate. 
  • If your values no longer align - groups shift their focus sometimes and that is awesome! It might not resonate with you anymore which is also great but it is time to say goodbye. 

If any of these landed with you, fantastic! Knowing is something, now onto the breakup and we look forward to seeing you on the VolunteerConnector when you are ready, there are over 1000 opportunities waiting for you.

 

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Tablespoons Of Feeling

Published: Sep 28, 2021 @ 8:45 AM

We did a blog post months ago about Adam Grant's thoughts on languishing. He has since done a TED Talk on the topic with heavy emphasis on MarioCart.

Additionally, someone very wise shared last week that buckets do not get filled to the brim all at once nor through big cups, it is unfortunately through little tablespoons. In case that is where you are this week here are a couple of tablespoons from us to you ...

Fall colours, the leaves are glorious and there are things still blooming

Terry Fox, he is inspiring and he was all about caring for others. Terry's Story.

Sweater weather, it is the season for cool ​mornings, evenings, breezes and warm sunshine. 

Small talk (*in small doses), after all the isolations it is nice talk to people. 

Micheala Coel's Emmy acceptance speech, it was really beautiful.

 

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