Watching new skaters test their steadiness through sheer persistence is a cheery experience come winter as outdoor rinks become available in the neighbourhood.
“I like making ice for the kids. I get a laugh out of watching them learn how to skate and the smile on their faces,” said Henry Stainthorp, rink manager at Spruce Avenue Community League (SACL), while flooding the league’s rink in November.
Continue reading Outdoor community rinks holding firm Beating the odds relies on residents’ support
It’s 5 p.m. on a Monday in early December. I’ve got my camera ready, waiting to capture hungry and homeless guests who enter the dining hall at the downtown Hope Mission. I hope to share their smiles as they see the placemat a donor has signed for them. I want pictures of these guests laughing between bites of turkey and gravy so that I can share them on our website. Near the end of the meal, I’ll ask some of these guests to speak a thank you message into the camera so our donors know their money has been well spent.
Continue reading Making giving a blessing and not a burden What organizations really need during the holidays
Shortly after returning to school to study communications, I found myself co-ordinating volunteers for Arts on the Ave (AOTA), which runs Kaleido and Deep Freeze Festivals as well as the Carrot Community Arts Coffeehouse.
Volunteers are seriously the best, and some of the most generous people I’ve ever worked with. However, working with people who donate their time presents some unique challenges; recruitment, training and retention are ongoing challenges for many organizations.
Continue reading The realities of being a volunteer co-ordinator Reflecting on the joys and challenges of working with volunteers
When I first began volunteering, I was just beginning grade 12 and looking for ways to gain new experiences outside of what high school could offer. I found my first long-term volunteer experience with Catholic Social Services as a Homework Club tutor. I stayed with them for over a year.
The program was a drop-in academic help session for immigrant youth held every Saturday. It was an interesting experience because while my best subjects were Spanish and English, I began to lose my confidence in tutoring these subjects every time a question came up that I could not answer. I began to wonder about limitations in my own offered abilities and I started seeking different opportunities. Not every volunteer opportunity works out.
Continue reading Volunteering as an important part of life Meaningful volunteering starts with finding organizations that click with you
Kathryn Rambow is still dragging around that cold. There has been no time to recuperate. A refugee family—the first installment—arrives on the plane tomorrow.
Rambow, an Alberta Avenue resident, has been busy ensuring a two bedroom apartment is outfitted for a young family of four. Rambow is part of the Refugee Response Group, a few dozen people (some local) who connected to welcome Syrian refugees.
Continue reading Welcoming Syrian refugees How a group banded together to help a refugee family