VM Blog

  • Happy Holidays from VM!

    December 22, 2020

    Posted by: Kamillah El-Giadaa

    Here's to the end of 2020! We want to thank all of you for your continued support during the past year - and what a year it has been! On behalf of the board and staff here at VM, we hope everyone has a safe and wonderful holiday season, and that you are able to take time to rest and connect safely with your loved ones.

    We will be closed from December 24 to January 4 but before we take a break, we'd like to leave you with our annual list of how to get involved over the holidays. Volunteering has remained a very important part of our communities and there are still many ways you can give back, safely, over the holidays.

    Enjoy the season and we look forward to seeing what 2021 will bring!

    Warm wishes,


    Volunteer Manitoba's annual round-up of Holiday Volunteer Opportunities!

    In spite of the pandemic restrictions, there are still many ways you can give back over the season and have a meaningful volunteer experience. Check out our list of ways you can get involved and give back over the holidays!

    • Share the warmth and help by donating much-needed items for Siloam Mission. Items can be dropped off at any Red River Co-op store in Winnipeg.
    • Ask a neighbour if you can help them this season by running errands for them.
    • Bake or buy (from a local business) holiday treats and bring them to your local nursing home for sharing. You can't volunteer at a PCH right now, but you can still show your support for all the staff and residents.
    • Looking for a way to volunteer in the comfort of your own home? Help combat this pandemic by making masks for Agape Table.
    • Give the gift of life by donating blood and/or sign up to be an organ donor.
    • Make a care kit for people in need, with items like socks, deodorant, mittens, feminine hygiene products and snacks. Visit the following websites for more information on in-demand items and how to drop them off safely. 1Just City, Siloam Mission, Ndinawe/Tina's Safe Haven, Main Street Project and Rossbrook House!
    • Be a Santa to a Senior! Get paired up with a senior in your area and brighten up their holiday by filling their gift wishlist.
    • Meals on Wheels is looking for drivers to deliver delicious and nutritious meals to clients in the community. If you have a few hours a week to spare, visit www.mealswinnipeg.com to volunteer.
    • 1Just City works towards a city where all are cared for, have enough to eat, a place they belong, and feel loved. This holiday season they need the following items.
    • Organize a coat and winter clothing drive in your community and then visit the websites of the following organizations to find out how to drop-off items: Salvation Army, John Howard Society, Elizabeth Fry Society and United Way Koats for Kids.
    • Drop off thank you cards for frontline staff and volunteers at health centres, personal care homes, non-profits, charities and community centres in your neighbourhood. Phone or visit their website first, so you can make arrangements to drop-off items safely.
    • You don't have to leave your house to support Main Street Project - visit their website to learn more about their Amazon Wish List! Help the city's most vulnerable by purchasing items that are then shipped right to MSP's door.
    • The Salvation Army is looking for Kettle Bell Ringers to collect donations and interact with the community on behalf of the organization. For more information email Renzel.villegas@salvationarmy.ca or see their posting in VM's Volunteer Opportunities.

  • Volunteer Manitoba's team grew a bit bigger this past month. We would like to welcome Harvey Yu! Harvey is from the University of Manitoba. He is currently studying Recreation Management and Community Development and will be working with Volunteer Manitoba to complete his fieldwork placement. Harvey will be with us until the end of December where he will be working on Volunteer Manitoba's Community Outreach, specifically with the VM Youth Program.

    Most of September Harvey has been working closely with Kamillah El-Giadaa, our Youth Program Coordinator, to help youth find places to volunteer this Fall. Volunteering provides an opportunity for all of us to learn more about ourselves and our community. For students and young adults, volunteering can also help you learn about different career paths that may interest you, finding your passion and can help you develop useful skills. So we asked our Harvey Yu, what are his top 5 reasons to volunteer!

    1. Build and Develop Community Ties

    • Whether you are new to a community, or have lived there your whole life, volunteering engages you with new people from all age groups of which you can learn and share your experiences with.

    2. Give Back to the Community

    • Whether you know it or not, volunteers help drive the community through fundraising and helping at school events, this is your opportunity to reciprocate that same effort for others.

    3. Be a Part of Change in the Community

    • From environmental sustainability to poverty related issues, you can be a part of the solution by volunteering your time to help these causes.

    4. Learn New Skills

    • Both social and career driven skills can be learned through volunteering, widening your social circle, interacting with others, and being hands on.

    5. Gain New & Insightful Experiences

    • Volunteering will give you opportunities to listen to people's stories and give you a chance to opening yourself up to new perspectives and experiences.

    Got a question for Harvey? Want to find out where you can volunteer next? Email Harvey at Harvey@volunteermanitoba.ca !

  • VM Youth Hub Final Report - your input is needed!

    Last September, Volunteer Manitoba hosted the VM Youth Hub - a special event on youth engagement in Manitoba. Over 90 organizations and groups came together to discuss their youth programs. The event was an opportunity for organizations to learn, network and share resources to allow for better collaboration across the province. The data that was collected is being reviewed and will be included in a final report on youth programming in the province.

    The purpose of this final report on youth programming is to locate pressing challenges and gaps impacting the quality of service distribution in the youth sector. As an organization currently working with youth, we need your input to help us identify this information for the final report.

    Please take a few minutes (approx. 5 -10) and complete our survey before July 31, 2020. Everyone who completes the survey will be entered into a draw for a free, full-day Volunteer Manitoba workshop (valued at $145)

    Click here to start the survey!

    If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

    Qudus Abusaleh
    Research Assistant
    E: qudus@volunteermanitoba.ca

  • 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 until further notice, 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


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