VM Blog

  • Volunteer engagement, within the context of a public health crisis, raises many questions as organizations assess the evolving risks and needs in our communities. From healthcare centres to long-term care homes, shelters to food banks, Manitoba's non-profits and charities are on the frontlines supporting and serving communities during this unpredictable and tumultuous time of COVID-19.

    We also know this is a challenging time in terms of managing our human resources - staff and volunteers, and ensuring critical services are still offered to those who need them. During a state of emergency, there is an increase in both need and demand, and for many of us volunteering is a way we can contribute and help during this pandemic.

    Volunteer Manitoba works with hundreds of non-profits, charities, special events and community groups across Manitoba to support and assist with recruitment, retention and recognition of volunteers. To help you identify where to volunteer your time, and how to keep yourself, your community and organizations safe, we have pulled together 3 options for Manitobans to get involved and give their time.

    #1 - Volunteer Programs

    A volunteer program is an important extension of every non-profit organization, charity, and healthcare centre because volunteers are intrinsic to the ongoing delivery of programs and services in our communities.

    Volunteer programs have dedicated staff who manage, supervise and support the volunteer team as they work together to achieve the organization's mandate. Volunteer Programs follow the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement, and utilize the Screening Handbook, to ensure that people's skills are matched to the work being done, that the quality and safety of programs and services are maintained and improved (where needed), and that the risks and liabilities for people and organizations are reduced.

    Many volunteer programs in Manitoba have suspended all activities for the time being. We recommend reaching out to the organization directly to learn if they require support at this time.

    We will continue to support our non-profit and community partners who are reliant on volunteers to deliver services and needs to the communities they serve. We will highlight any urgent need for volunteer support during the COVID-19 pandemic on our website and via our social media platforms.

    You can also contact us directly for a list of organizations currently needing volunteer support - email kamillah.elgiadaa@volunteermanitoba.ca for more information.

    #2 Community-Led Volunteering

    Community-Led volunteering is a grassroots effort, where people within a community come together to serve a cause or address a need. Communities will often come together to fundraise for a cause, celebrate a milestone, or if there is a state-of-emergency that requires everyone to get involved.

    Community-Led volunteers still follow a process, and a reporting structure is in place, but the process for achieving the shared goal may be less formal than in a volunteer program.

    To learn more about community-led volunteering in your region, we recommend connecting with your local municipality.

    #3 Informal Volunteering

    Most informal volunteering is reciprocal, when people take turns helping each other in a way that is not coordinated by an organization. It's a very common way for people to help out, and over 80% of the population does it.

    What does it look like? Informal volunteering is helping your neighbours, friends, family members and people you may know and trust. It happens in neighbourhoods, through faith-based activities, and in social groups.

    If you want to help out informally, please connect with your neighbours, friends and family via email, telephone or leave a note on their mailbox or door step.

    • Do not show up at someone's house unannounced. People may be anxious about making face-to-face contact right now, particularly if they have a medical condition, live alone, or are considered vulnerable.
    • Make arrangements that are mutually convenient, not just on your own schedule.

    If someone asks you to do something you cannot (or should not do), let them know that you cannot help. Suggest they contact us at info@volunteermanitoba.ca and we can help refer them to a volunteer program that may be able to help, or a non-profit service provider they can access.

    Remember to Stay Safe!

    Before you offer your time, please ask yourself "Am I well enough to volunteer?" and "Have I been in contact with someone who is unwell?" Your safety and limiting the spread of COVID-19 is the priority. If you are unwell or you have been in contact with someone who is unwell, DO NOT VOLUNTEER.

    Volunteer Manitoba shares the recommendations of the chief provincial public health officer and encourages all Manitobans to engage in good social distancing protocols, including practicing following the 3P's - protect yourself, protect your loved ones and protect your community. For more information visit www.manitoba.ca/covid19.

  • As the COVID-19 situation evolves, we will continue to monitor and respond according to the direction of the Province of Manitoba and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Our top priority remains the safety of our program and event participants, staff and community members. We remain committed to taking appropriate precautions to provide a safe environment that does not put anyone at undue risk.

    Staff Support

    As a precautionary measure Volunteer Manitoba has decided to close our offices for the remainder of the month, effective March 17th, at 4:30 pm. All staff will be working remotely and our team will continue to deliver prompt service and communications for our community, program participants, partners and funders.

    Please stay in touch with us via email rather than by phone. You can find email addresses for all of our staff on the Staff Page of our website.

    Volunteer Program Support

    • We are deferring judgment for all volunteer needs and projects listed on our website to our Non-Profit and Community partners and their ability to stay open and support the community and their volunteers.
    • We will continue to support our Non-Profit and Community partners who are reliant on volunteers to deliver services and needs to the communities they serve. We will highlight any urgent need for volunteer support during the COVID-19 pandemic on our website and via our social media platforms.
    • If you are an organization who wishes to find volunteers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, please contact Kamillah El-Giadaa, Youth Program Coordinator, via email at kamillah.elgiadaa@volunteermanitoba.ca

    Volunteer Referrals

    If you are interested in volunteering during this time, or you are researching the volunteer opportunities listed on our website, we ask that you observe the guidelines and precautions as recommended by the Province of Manitoba and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

    We also recommend reaching out to the organization directly to learn if they require support at this time. There are many organizations who have closed during the pandemic in order to help flatten the curve of the virus.

    Other Ways to Help

    Think and act locally! Being a good neighbour is another way to volunteer in your community. There are many ways to help informally such as checking on your neighbours, especially anyone who may live alone, anyone elderly or potentially vulnerable. Contact them safely (example, through a phone call, online messaging or drop a note into their door) to let them know that you are available and can assist with their basic needs.

    Some practical ways to help your community, most especially the elderly and the vulnerable, include:

    • Basic grocery shopping
    • Take the trash out on scheduled trash day
    • Offer to walk pets for your neighbours
    • Donate items to your local shelter and/or food bank
    • Offer to connect via phone or email to keep people from feeling too isolated and lonely

    Remember, little acts of kindness can go a long way and have long-lasting impact on your community. Reaching out makes a difference.


    If you have any questions, or would like more information, please contact Dawn Bourbonnais, Manager of Communications and Outreach at dawn.bourbonnais@volunteermanitoba.ca

  • Winnipeg - As a precautionary measure Volunteer Manitoba has decided to close our offices for the remainder of the month, effective March 17th, at 4:30 pm. All staff will be working remotely until further notice and our team will continue to deliver prompt service and communications for our community, program participants, partners and funders.

    We encourage you to stay in touch with us via email rather than by phone. You can find email addresses for all of our staff on the Staff Page of our website.

    As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we will monitor and respond according to the direction of the Province of Manitoba and the Public Health Agency of Canada. Our primary concern is the health and safety of our program and event attendees, partners, staff and community, and we are committed to taking appropriate precautions to provide a safe environment that does not put anyone at undue risk.

    Please note the following;

    • The Annual Volunteer Awards Dinner is now scheduled for November 18th, 2020. Visit this section of our website for more information.
    • VM's in-class training has been rescheduled; visit the Training Calendar for more information and to register for the new dates!
    • We are also offering a series of free webinars to help support non-profits and volunteer programs in Manitoba during this time. More information can be found on our Training Calendar.
    • If your non-profit, charity or group is looking for volunteers or assistance during this time, please reach out to us. We will also be sharing supports and resources for volunteer managers and volunteer programs on our website as information becomes available.

    By closing down all in-person programs, and rescheduling our special events and training, we hope to flatten the curve and slow the spread of COVID-19. Please refer to the links below where up-to-date information and advice may be found.

    - 30 -

    For inquiries, please contact:

    Dawn Bourbonnais
    Manager, Communications & Outreach
    E: dawn.bourbonnais@volunteermanitoba.ca

  • Do you have a story to tell about the community you come from?

    Don't wait until it's too late, apply to be an MB 150 Youth Ambassador today!

    What kind of stories are we looking for?

    All kinds! The goal of this program is to give YOU a chance to share YOUR story with the rest of Manitoba.

    Stories can be varied and diverse, and can profile local celebrities or champions, historical or current events, or infamous relics, places or things that put your community on the map! In this program, storytelling can be more than writing, although there will be a writing component as you report back to Volunteer Manitoba on the project's progress.
    Some examples of ways to tell your community's story are; short stories, blogs, poetry, photography, online (web, social media), visual art, or short video.

    What if I need some guidance?

    Not to worry! We have a team of VM Coaches who are ready to get involved and help you out. The coaches are community leaders and professionals who want to share their skills and expertise with you! Coaches will be paired up with program participants in the new year, and will be on hand to answer any questions you may have and to help guide your project to completion.

    If you, or someone you know, is interested in being a coach you can learn more here!

    How much work is involved?

    It all depends on the story you want to tell, but the program was designed to give all participants 5 months to complete their projects. The time commitment can be flexible, as the project is completely self-led.

    The program starts in the new year with 2 days of training in Winnipeg (if you live outside of the city, we'll pay for your travel and hotel). Then you will be paired with your coach and can begin your project. At the beginning of summer 2020, we will bring everyone back to Winnipeg (again, travel costs covered by us!) to share and celebrate the completed projects!

    What sort of training are you offering?

    The two days of training will take place in Winnipeg at the start of February. We're inviting community leaders and guest speakers to share their perspective on community engagement, and we'll take you through a series of workshops to help you explore the storytelling possibilities you can use as part of your project.

    Have we convinced you to apply yet? We hope so! Visit our website for more information!

    #25Youth
    #25Communities
    #25Stories

  • Tell YOUR community's story YOUR way
    Become a Youth Ambassador!

    Volunteer Manitoba, in partnership with RBC Future Launch and Manitoba 150, are thrilled to announce a new program giving young Manitobans an opportunity to showcase their community through creative storytelling!


    The MB 150 Youth Ambassador program is a five month program where 25 participants will be given the opportunity to tell their community's story - their way!

    MB 150 Youth Ambassadors will showcase their community's history, culture, diversity, and identity through storytelling methods and exciting learning opportunities. By participating in this program, youth will increase their leadership skills, promote mutual understanding, and be positioned to bring awareness of their communities.

    "We're excited to be working with Volunteer Manitoba and Manitoba 150 in this creative and meaningful way," said Kim Ulmer, Regional President, RBC. "We encourage eligible youth to take advantage of this very special opportunity to commemorate this milestone through their own community lens. This a chance to cultivate relationships and acquire knowledge, skills and experience which will be adaptable to their current or future careers, while leaving a legacy for generations to come."

    Youth Ambassadors will be paired with a Coach for the duration of the program. The Coaches will be community leaders and professionals who want to give back and share their skills and expertise with the younger generation. They will guide their participant through their project, provide support and advice, and be an invaluable part of helping MB 150 Youth Ambassadors build their network and increase their skillset.

    "Manitoba's 150th anniversary is a tremendous opportunity to share stories about who we are as Manitobans," said Monique LaCoste, Co-Chair of the Manitoba 150 Host Committee Inc. "By encouraging Manitoba's young adults to strengthen their creative and leadership skills, the MB 150 Youth Ambassador program will enhance our community," added Manitoba 150 Co-Chair Stuart Murray.

    The program is open to anyone between the ages of 18 and 29, who lives in Manitoba and is willing to travel to Winnipeg for group activities and training (travel expenses will be covered by Volunteer Manitoba). The deadline to apply for the program is December 9th, 2019. Participants will be informed of their acceptance by mid-December. For more information, or to submit an application, please visit www.volunteermanitoba.ca.

    "Every year, thousands of citizens across the province strengthen their communities by being involved," says Jackie Hunt, Executive Director of Volunteer Manitoba. "We are thrilled to be able to provide this kind of unique programming to Manitoba's young generation, and to partner with such great supporters to showcase and celebrate the incredible strength of our communities, and the people that make them vibrant and strong."

    For more information, please contact:

    Kamillah El-Giadaa, Youth Program Coordinator
    P: 204-477-5180 ext. 225
    E: kamillah.elgiadaa@volunteermanitoba.ca

 


Newer | Older