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We have to do something.

Published: Sep 28, 2023 @ 12:00 PM




“Why don’t we do better, when we know better?”

“It is not enough to know;

It is not enough to care:

We have to do something!”

-Cindy Blackstock, Pathways to Reconciliation Conference 



Give One Day's Pay to support indigenous projects, movements, organizations and nations. 


Finding A Passion

Published: Sep 21, 2023 @ 1:26 PM

We are pleased to welcome guest blog writer Kaurveri. Kauveri Buddepu is an Internationally trained dentist from Visakhapatnam, South India in the process of becoming a licensed dentist in Canada. He found his love for writing in middle school in Visakhapatnam, India and fully realized his passion for writing through volunteering after I arrived in Canada. 

It was the month of November and I had been in Canada for a few months now. As a newcomer to Calgary, I was curious to engage with the community of Calgary through Volunteering. I stumbled upon one of the student boards at Bow Valley College about a volunteering opportunity for Remembrance Day to write letters to the Veterans in Canada. I was delighted to be accepted to the event at Murdoch Manor, a retirement home in Calgary. 

What made me feel so special about this volunteering activity? I found my love for writing for the first time in Canada. I was able to connect with a few veterans whom I never met. As a recent immigrant, I was able to express my thoughts and gratitude for their contributions to the country. All this magic happened through a simple act of writing letters! Isn’t that beautiful? 

Inter-generational Interaction: Writing letters with the seniors to the Veterans in Canada enabled me to bridge the gap between the veteran community and the senior community at the retirement home through the beauty of words. Words have the power to express one’s emotions and feelings. Not to mention, they have the power to heal! 

Volunteering to build communities: The thoughts in my little brain flow through the ink of my beautiful blue Gel pen to gracefully reach the reader’s mind. We all are interconnected in this Universe. Readers may or may not agree with what they just read. However, I relate to the reader right now through the beauty of words in this unique moment. Thank you for allowing me to connect, reflect and share my perspectives on writing. We are together in this moment right now. Is that how you feel as well? 

The beauty of writing through Volunteering: It is not about perfection. It is about having the heart and mind to express one’s feelings and to remind the receiver (the reader) that there’s someone out there thinking of them (the veteran through the letters and the reader reading this blog post right now). 

Global Citizen and Volunteering: The inspiration and passion to volunteer through writing have now enabled me to write letters to children in Uganda through a Pen Pal Project. Isn’t that fascinating? 

In this digital era, I encourage everyone to write letters and share their thoughts with their loved ones. 

I am excited to meet you in the world of writing! 


It’s Almost Symposium Time!

Published: Sep 12, 2023 @ 5:04 PM

We are just 14 days out from the Next. Symposium! On September 27 there will be awesome and relevant conversation around volunteerism in this current space and time. Nine different speakers are going to share their insights into what makes for thriving communities. There are so many wonderful people contributing their ideas.

We are happy to welcome Debbie Maltman from Volunteer Scotland to talk about the intersection between the cost-of-living crisis and volunteerism. Candice Zhang from Ontario Nonprofit Network will speak on decent work in the charitable sector! We will also be talking Gen Z and food security community organizing, check out our event page for the full list of brilliant speakers. If you want to be part of an engaging and inspiring conversation around what the volunteer community is like in 2023 join us!




Lay Some Patio Stones

Published: Sep 5, 2023 @ 6:00 PM

This picture is from my local pharmacy and believe it or not when I saw it, I immediately thought of volunteer engagement. This is going to be a roundabout tale, hold on! This spot is in an odd place, there is not a clear way to get there if you are walking. The parking lot is often jammed and so people park across the street and walk over. It is a confusing intersection not far up from a stoplight and the people travelling left actually have the right of way, plus there is a grocery store, daycare and a church. Mad times in urban planning! My takeaway from this image is that someone made a choice, acknowledged how people moved through this space and went with it, in fact made it easier for everyone to get where they wanted to go. They did not hold onto the idea that there is a sidewalk close by, they did not plant bigger shrubbery or something with thorns to try and deter people. So now you know the lay the of the land, what could this possibly have to do with volunteer engagement? It is about acknowledging the truth. 

 Sometimes we hear from people that they are having trouble recruiting volunteers, that they have had these roles for the past 15-20 years and they can’t seem to find any person interested in them now. That is a tough situation to be in for sure, but there is a choice. As an organization you can continue to struggle and suffer, you can try to force people through the thorny, tall shrubbery as it were, or you can lay out some patio stones! There is space for reimaging everything, nothing needs to look like it did before. It is hard work for sure and work that takes time but worth doing if you want to continue to engage volunteers in the work that you are doing. If this post is resonating with you and you want to talk it through just give us an email we would love to catch up. 


Adventures In Volunteering Episode 1

Published: Aug 31, 2023 @ 8:49 AM

By Jeff D’Silva

In the heart of Inglewood, Calgary, nestled among the vibrant streets, there existed a hidden gem known as the Loose Moose Theatre Company in the old Garry Theatre space. It was a haven for creative souls, weirdos, outcasts, the class clowns and the drama nerds. A place where laughter echoed and the imagination ran wild. For Jeff, the decision to become a volunteer there would forever alter the course of his life.

With a heart brimming with curiosity and a sprinkle of nervous excitement, Jeff stepped through the theatre's doors for the first time. The air was thick with an aura of artistic energy and hot buttered popcorn, and the walls seemed to whisper tales of countless performances from comedy heroes who had since moved on to the big lights of Toronto, Ontario, but whose humble roots started at this very theatre. Jeff was welcomed by the warm smiles of fellow volunteers and staff, each radiating a passion for the magic that unfolded on their stage. Some of the smiling faces from that first day would go on to become lifelong friends.

Jeff’s journey began with the simplest of tasks— mixing Lime Rickey (a mysterious green juice concoction derived from three healthy ingredients sugar, water and green), and “snogging” which he would soon learn is “Mooser speak” for set decoration during a show. Every moment was a chance to learn, to soak in the knowledge of the more tenured improvisers who surrounded him. Jeff found himself spellbound by the camaraderie and the unyielding commitment to storytelling. He marveled at the senior improvisers who effortlessly slipped into characters, transforming seemingly the most innocuous incident or suggestion into a completely enthralling scene in a matter of seconds.

As weeks turned into months, Jeff's dedication grew stronger. He graduated from the role of an eager observer to that of a vital cog in the theatre's intricate machinery. He helped build sets, paint backdrops, and even tried his hand at making masks. The process was exhilarating—a symphony of creativity and collaboration that produced breathtaking results.

One fateful day, while chatting with a senior improviser, Jeff's curiosity was piqued by tales of improvisational performances. The improviser spoke of not preparing, being obvious, and diving into the unknown with only wit and instinct as your guides. Jeff’s heart raced and his mind lit up like the top of the Calgary Tower on a Flames’ game night. He decided to venture beyond his comfort zone and embrace the exhilarating challenge of improv.

Under the guidance of the theatre's mentors, Jeff stepped onto the stage for his first improv performance. The spotlight illuminated his face, casting aside any remnants of doubt. He locked eyes with his fellow performers, a silent agreement passing between them—they were in this together. The game was simple, one improviser makes a suggestion and the others exclaim “Yes Let’s!” and act out the suggestion. The goal is learn to accept offers from your team, be open to failing, and have the most fun possible. The audience's laughter became an irresistible well of energy, and Jeff’s inhibitions, the shyness of being the awkward, skinny brown kid at his high school melted away like winter’s snowfall after the first chinook of the season.

With every scene, he discovered a new facet of himself. The stage became a canvas for his imagination, where he could be a detective solving absurd crimes one moment and a time-traveling adventurer the next. Each performance was a tapestry woven with laughter, vulnerability, and the symbiotic connection between improvisers and the audience.

As seasons changed and years flowed by, Jeff’s journey continued to flourish. He found himself not only a volunteer but an integral part of the Loose Moose family. As a first generation Canadian, Jeff had never really had a professional network, so his Moose family would serve as his lifelong collaborators, co-conspirators and sources of constant inspiration. His dedication was rewarded with friendships that felt like kindred spirits, mentors who nurtured his talents, and memories, tall tales from backstage, failures, victories, and lessons learned that he would carry with him for the rest of his life.

Looking back, Jeff realized that his decision to volunteer at the Loose Moose Theatre Company was a pivotal one. It had ignited a passion he hadn't known existed and led him down a path of artistic exploration and personal growth. Through the ups and downs, the laughter and the challenges, he had discovered a place where his human spirit could truly be set free, unburdened by his insecurities and the trivial annoyances of everyday life.

And so, the curtains fell on the story of a volunteer named Jeff, whose journey with the Loose Moose Theatre Company was a testament to the transformative power of embracing the unknown, learning to embrace failure as a tool for development, nurturing one's passions, and finding a second home in the most unexpected of places. Also, he learned how to make Lime Rickey, a healthy beverage that he uses to nourish his children to this day.



Volunteering In Panama

Published: Aug 24, 2023 @ 10:32 AM

I recently had the opportunity to chat with a friend about volunteering in Panama.

As an expat living in Panama, she wanted to volunteer in an area she was passionate about. After landing at Ronald McDonald House, she started volunteering without speaking much Spanish. In recent articles, I've talked about the value of volunteering, not just for the community, but for the volunteer. As Dr. Wayne Dyer put it, “The more we give away, the more is given to us.” For Caleigh, this rang true. Her outlook and positive experience encouraged me, and I thought it would be great to share her journey with our followers here at Volunteer Connector.

N: How did you go about finding a place to volunteer?

C: I wanted to do something in health care, but that's one of the protected industries in Panama. So, getting into health care was quite tricky. There were many barriers. So naturally, the second thing was to volunteer in that same space. That's how I got connected to someone at the Ronald McDonald House.

N: Can you talk a little about what it was like to volunteer in a place where you don’t speak the language?

C: I was super nervous about going there. Many of the families coming there are from the country's interior, so they don't speak English or, if they do, it’s very limited—and my Spanish isn't very good either. So, I was nervous about how I would connect with these people. How am I going to do anything with them? That was intimidating to me. But I quickly realized that people just want to be understood and heard. The basic needs of people are the same, whether you can communicate with them or not. My experience is that most people are friendly and will try to connect with you even if you don't speak the same language. Smiles are universal.

N: Did you find volunteering helpful in your journey to learn Spanish?

C: Yes. In my journey to learn Spanish, I find you just have to figure it out. I would practice a lot with my Spanish teacher. If I was bringing an activity, game, or puzzle, I would practice explaining it with my Spanish teacher before going. The more I started coming to the Ronald McDonald House, the more people interacted with me and made an effort to speak slowly and more simply. It was very endearing. Through volunteering, I could help them in a way, and then it was like they were returning the favor by speaking slowly or practicing with me. It felt like a give-and-take relationship. It was symbiotic. That definitely helps with the Spanish.

N: If you could give advice to someone looking to volunteer in a country or a place where there might be barriers such as culture or language, what would you say to push them to do it?

C: Don't let the barriers overwhelm or stop you because, at the end of the day, all humans in their basic needs are the same. And across different cultures and different languages, you'll find that we're more alike than we are different.

Honestly, there's little for me to add. Be encouraged. Whatever barrier you thought was between you and volunteering, there’s a way to overcome it. If you believe something disqualifies you from serving in a field you are passionate about, don’t let that stop you from trying. There will always be a way.



Great Work!

Published: Aug 11, 2023 @ 10:59 AM

We like to shout out people doing cool and interesting work in the community! 

Gore Park Community Outreach began in the pandemic and has continued to offer vital services to the community members of Hamilton. They have built collaboration as they’ve grown and continue to centre the people they are trying to help. 

The lakes across the province of British Columbia are being monitored by awesome people. They are tracking changes and raising flags to protect the lakes. Learn more about them here. 


How I Discovered Myself In A New Country - Guest Blog

Published: Aug 3, 2023 @ 4:00 PM

The following is a guest blog by Tarunika Kalita. Tarunika is a fundraising manager with a not-for-profit based out of Toronto. An ardent music lover, she is a bibliophile who loves reading books on wellness and history. In her free time, she likes to use her writing skills for various volunteering opportunities.

How I Discovered Myself In A New Country

I moved to this beautiful country right at the onset of the pandemic. So, while the world was shutting down, I found myself in a state of chaos and loneliness both at the same time. The dreams of a new, happy life were replaced with the sudden feeling of despair and worthlessness. Employment opportunities were limited, so was the number of people I interacted with and forget exploring the city because every nook and corner was closed. 

In my urge to find something that would make me feel a little more like myself, I found the opportunity to be a social media volunteer for a local summer camp, helping them write content for brochures and occasionally coordinate with the parents and children through calls. This became a start to my foray into what is now my full-time career. Currently, I am a fundraising manager at a non-for-profit organization that helps children belonging to underserved communities with nutrition and wellness programs. 

So, Volunteering became my way of exploring opportunities where I could use my skills to help people. It also gave me the golden opportunity to interact with people, share stories and learn from them. Volunteering at the local Bingo halls helped me understand the lives of several people who used the game as community networking area, regularly meeting, sharing updates over a tall glass of diet coke and a hot dog. 

Recently, I volunteered as a bio writer for a local animal shelter. As an ardent dog lover, the joy of seeing the dogs getting adopted after I helped explaining how each dog had a personality of their own and what they could bring to a family that adopted them through my writing was my ultimate emotional satisfaction. It did however also come with heartbreak, anytime a dog was returned or rejected. 

Through all these various experiences, I discovered that I was committed, more motivated person with a purpose in my heart. I learnt that sometimes, there would be disappointments or situations I cannot do anything about, but the journey isn’t about giving up, it is about continuing to do what feels right.

Guest Blogger

Tarunika Kalita



Next. A symposium on community belonging, engagement and volunteerism

Published: Jul 25, 2023 @ 12:00 PM

Join us on Wednesday, September 27 at 11:00am MST for a symposium  This will undoubtedly be a moment to remember as an extraordinary group of humans who have profound impact in their communities gather to share insights, illuminations and lessons from the past. Take this opportunity to shift your understanding and feel invigorated about the work of compassion and causes. This imagining is meant for anyone and everyone who engages other humans in community work; volunteer managers, grassroots organizers, community leaders, executive directors, board members, civil workers, people who work in the charitable sector, volunteers, people who care about their community but are not really sure what that looks like! 

The symposium will feature ten, 3 minute moments (think TikTok but with the lens of social justice and belonging), a full some space for conversation and parting thoughts. 

To read more about the people involved and register click here

email for more information.


Resources That Shift Your Perspective

Published: Jul 19, 2023 @ 10:52 AM

We are very lucky to connect with great people from around North America here are some resources that have shifted perspectives in the past couple months. We are always happy to connect and chat more if you want to process this information in your context. 

Go Smudge Yourself 

What If Natives Stop Subsidizing Canada 

Foundations in Somatic Abolitionism 

How do we help things die



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