We see you.
There you are, bringing your passions, your talents, and your wisdom to your community. As gifts. Yes, there you are, asking nothing in return, but taking away so much: connection, camaraderie, and a better community for having you in it.
We see you now.
Signing up to stand on the front lines with your special medical skills, or supporting the front lines with other special and critical skills, in kitchens, in drivers’ seats, or at home on the phone or in front of a computer monitor.
This year, in celebration of National Volunteer Week, we are reminded of the indispensable role of volunteers in our civil society and, at Pillar Nonprofit Network, in our mission to strengthen individuals and organizations toward positive change. We see you and we value you. Cheers to volunteers.
We have seen it before.
Not a year ago, London, Ontario and our region rose up in support of a neighbourhood traumatized by an explosion. There were dollars donated, so important to rescue the families most affected, but the effort was guided by members of the community who spontaneously stepped up to help their neighbours and assisted by people from area organizations who stepped in to lend their expertise and organizations’ resources. Cheers to volunteers!
We see it every day.
But this isn’t happening only in extraordinary times. This is happening every day in London and across Canada, and we see you doing it every day. In your childrens’ schools, in your faith groups, in your neighbourhood associations, we see you pouring your time and your thoughts into the causes you believe in and the people you love. Then becoming even more involved in the community at large, connecting, collaborating, organizing people, joining boards, guiding positive change. Cheers to volunteers!
We see how you are special, of course, but maybe not so different from anyone else. If you are reading this post you may already be connected. Maybe you had to press pause on volunteering because of COVID-19, but you can’t be stopped from caring, and you’re seeking new purpose and connection, even just in this moment. There’s no question that we are seeing an explosion of volunteerism in Caremongering groups and other locally-based mutual aid efforts. So many joining, helping, and giving. If this is you, keep it up! Cheers to volunteers!
Let’s all keep it up!
And if you need help finding the way that you can help best, maybe that’s how we can help best. There are volunteer opportunities posted on the Pillar Nonprofit Network website, including opportunities to help in the COVID-19 response (search the “COVID-19” tag) and ways to help from home (search the “Virtual Volunteering” tag). We’ll be reminding Pillar members to post their opportunities using these tags. We have never had so many generous and gifted people contact us directly to find out how they can help, how we can all be in this, together. If you’re at the start of your volunteer journey, consider signing up to join Pillar Executive Director Michelle Baldwin for Careers and Volunteers that Give Back, offered online on May 25th.
Cheers to Volunteers!
It is our mission to strengthen individuals and organizations, and we are taking this occasion to do that. But, of course, National Volunteer Week is about giving thanks. For ideas, Pillar member London and Area Association for Volunteer Administration has some awesome examples in their LAVA Supplement 2020. Pillar members and members of the community may have been saddened to cancel or postpone appreciation events, but we can't be stopped either. Volunteer Canada’s got some great tools to say thank you and “Cheers to Volunteers" from a distance, and we’ll be using them this week to say how grateful we are to our own volunteers. To the knowledge experts who come forward to coach our members, to the Welcome Desk Volunteers who greet you at Innovation Works, to the board members who keep us accountable to the community and generously empower us to do our best work, we see you all and we value you all. Thank you. Happy National Volunteer Week. Cheers to volunteers!