Leading Others to Thrive

  • January 7, 2019

    Posted by: Dawn Bourbonnais

    Back in the fall of 2017, Thrive Thrift Shop approached Volunteer Manitoba to discuss their volunteer program and how they could build up the skills and capacity of their volunteer team. Thrive Community Support Circle is a community organization that provides a wide variety of support services to Winnipeg's core and West End, plus the surrounding communities. Their Thrift Shop offers individuals and groups the opportunity to volunteer their time and gain training and job skills while providing the community affordable clothing and household items.

    Thrive wanted to create a volunteer leadership training program to help them address some of the issues they were facing within their volunteer program and to provide an opportunity for key volunteers to learn leadership behaviours, including being able to step into a leadership role and model key skills. These volunteers would not only strengthen Thrive's volunteer program but also gain skills, education and experience that would be transferable into the workforce and their personal lives.

    Volunteer Manitoba began by conducted a general audit of the Thrive Thrift Shop Volunteer Program, to determine if there were any immediate gaps in their volunteer management strategy and to make any necessary recommendations. What the audit revealed is that Thrive Thrift Shop is a welcoming environment and reflects a diversity of volunteer skill level and engagement. Also, Thrive Community Support Circle's core values are reflected in all areas of the volunteer program, and the strength of the program is maintained through careful recruitment, screening, training and supervision of their volunteers.

    After completing the audit, Volunteer Manitoba introduced Genella MacIntyre, a consultant and trainer, to Thrive and began facilitating a custom training opportunity for Thrive volunteers. In-house, we began referring to the training as Leading Others to Thrive (or LOTT). LOTT quickly became Developing Volunteer Leadership Skills, an interactive program where participants increase their skills and learn how to take those skills and help coach others. Many of the volunteers at Thrive are struggling with challenges that affect their social interactions, community involvement, and negatively impact their self-esteem or image. By stepping into leadership roles at Thrive, these volunteers are better positioned to help support other volunteers in the organization. The hope was that by creating this training experience, volunteer mentors would be better positioned to support their fellow volunteer team members.

    In the pilot session, two Thrive volunteers participated in 4 days of training with Genella. They learned how to identify and communicate common workplace standards, redirecting behaviours and how to address personal habits in others, being a good coach, insights into their own personality styles and how to be a role model. At the end of the training, one participant shared with Volunteer Manitoba that this training has changed her life and the staff at Thrive Thrift Shop also shared that having Volunteer Manitoba partner on this initiative was a big help in showing their own leadership that they run a solid volunteer program that engages the community they serve.

    Thrive Community Support Circle now has a customized training program for volunteers which they have offered to share with the extended community in order to build capacity in volunteer programs in Winnipeg. For more information on this program, contact Kristy at thrivethriftshop@thrivewpg.com or 204-783-9281.

    If your organization would like to learn more about how Volunteer Manitoba can help you build your capacity to serve your community, please contact our Executive Director, Jackie Hunt


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