THE PEOPLE AND INFORMATION CENTRE
National Volunteer Week (NVW) is an opportunity to appreciate volunteers and highlight the impact of their support. In 2020, NVW takes place April 19 through April 25 and honours the 12.7 million Canadians who make a difference through volunteerism and civic participation.
On behalf of the PIN - The People and Information Network, formerly the Volunteer Centre of Guelph Wellington, we say thank you to the thousands of volunteers who give the gifts of time, compassion, energy and more to our community. From coaches to youth mentors, friendly visitors to leaders, special event coordinators and more, the spirit and integral work of volunteers make an impact in the way we live, work and play.
With program and event closures due to COVID19, celebrations have been postponed but thanking volunteers can be done in many ways.
“Celebrating volunteers on National Volunteer Week 2020 invites our community to focus on creative, alternative ways to say thank you” says Kim Cusimano, Interim Executive Director. “Leaders of volunteers have been engaging with their volunteers online via video calls, calling volunteers by phone, offering online training and sending e-cards with good thoughts and well wishes.”
“Using this time, to connect with volunteers strengthens relationships and may in fact, be more meaningful to volunteers than gifts and events” says Kim, “in research from Volunteer Canada, the findings clearly indicated that volunteers want to know the impact of their contributions, hearing how their work has made a difference. Using this time to connect with volunteers and sharing how their support has made an impact is key.”
The generosity of volunteers sharing skills, expertise, enthusiasm and caring for others strengthens our resilience and is at the heart of communities.
“Whether formally through the mission and vision of nonprofits and charities or informally through helping neighbours, contributing to a gratitude garden like at the Guelph General Hospital as a symbol of immense respect and appreciation to health care workers, or removing waste and recycling from local streets and parks, volunteering is caring” says Kim.
Our power as individuals, families and communities is human kindness.
“We have seen this caring and human kindness in action” Kim continues “individuals wanting to help during COVID19; the generosity of spirit is a shining light in dark times.”
PIN sees our communities rising to action, volunteering with local organizations like the Guelph Food Bank, HOPE House and the Children’s Foundation for direct service delivery as well as virtual roles with organizations like Family Counselling and Support Services who offer telephone support services including an inbound distress line, and an outbound phone check-in service.
“Volunteering, formally or informally and connecting with others draws upon our shining light, supporting each other and spreading the good” says Kim, “choosing to do so also requires being informed and knowledgeable of the risks and if choosing to volunteer, you are doing so safely and using precautions.”
PINnetwork.ca not only has a search feature for organizations to posts COVID19 volunteer roles, PIN also links a volunteer safety checklist developed by Volunteer Canada.
“Our community wants to know how to help. We want to ensure our community can access the opportunities that are meaningful to them and make informed decisions.” says Kim.
Join PIN and says ‘Cheers to Volunteers’ during National Volunteer Week! #NVW2020