Volunteer Victoria’s Youth Team Recognizes Nicole Liu

This post is written by Julena Breel , Youth Placement Support Worker at Volunteer Victoria

National Volunteer Week, this year spanning from April 21st – April 27th, is all about volunteer recognition. It’s a celebration of the commitment, dedication and passion volunteers give our country and communities daily.

In 1943 this week was created to celebrate Canadian women who gave tremendous and imperative war-related efforts from the home-front. 71 years later the reasons to say thanks are vaster than ever. From campaigners to graphic designers to board members, volunteer positions encompass them all. In 2010 Stats Canada estimated that over half of Canadians volunteer their time yearly. That’s over 17 million people generously giving back to charities and causes they believe in! Pat yourself on the back Canada, that’s phenomenal.

Here at Volunteer Victoria we are extremely lucky to be surrounded by a group of volunteers whose time is vital for our organization and whose positive demeanors uplift our office daily. National Volunteer Week is important,  so the Youth Volunteer Connections Program, on behalf of Volunteer Victoria, wishes to use this opportunity to express gratitude to one of their extraordinary volunteers: Nicole Liu.

Nicole is going on her third year volunteering at Volunteer Victoria and in doing so has become a critical team player in the office. Nicole  started volunteering with the Youth Volunteer Connections Program in 2010 doing data entry and short term project support. Throughout the years she has provided invaluable feedback to the program by participating in a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis of YVCP, generating surveys, and interviewing new staff hires.

Nicole speaks with enthusiasm regarding her growth within the agency saying, “I have developed skills that include increased responsibility, multi-tasking, working independently and written and oral communication”. It speaks to Nicole’s organizational strength and time management skill set that she took on additional volunteer capacities during the transition of Volunteer Victoria’s Manager of Training and Outreach.

Nicole will be graduating this year from Mount Douglas Secondary and has decided to pursue her studies with the University of Victoria starting in September. Although the career field is ripe with opportunity Nicole wants to take this time to learn about as many routes as possible before declaring a major. Here at Volunteer Victoria we’re not only thrilled she’s doing what makes her happy but we’re ecstatic that this so happens to be in Victoria! She’s a one of a kind lady, filled with creative ideas, a supportive attitude and a desire to constantly learn and be challenged.

According to Victoria Foundation’s Youth 2012 Vital Signs, Nicole joins the 53% of youth aged 15-24 who volunteer in our community. Those youth, alongside the adult volunteers who also give their time tirelessly, are what make Victoria one of the greatest places to call home. It’s truly the people who give back as much as they get from the capital of BC that make our city shine.

On behalf of Volunteer Victoria, to all of those who give their time locally and globally, thank you. We appreciate and value you tremendously. An unknown author once said, “There is no “I” in team but we sure are glad there is “U” in our volunteers.” We couldn’t agree more.


Learning Outside the Volunteer Management Box

We’d like to introduce guest contributor Charlene Dishaw, currently the Manager of Volunteer Resources at Delta Hospital in Ladner, BC.

After over 10 years of working in the field of Volunteer Management I was having a “heard that, seen them” feeling. I was looking for education that would elevate my work another level. The Vancouver Board of Trade brought in the Disney Leadership workshop and my passion for working with people was renewed. What did it for me? The thrill of hearing what big business has the time and money to research. And the research can be directly applied to our sector. Since that workshop I have attended speakers who spoke to marketing and future planning, read dozens of books and taken a course at Simon Fraser University on Organizational Behaviour.

What does corporate marketing have to do with volunteers? One of our challenges is retention. What makes you go to Starbucks as a customer despite the cost of coffee? It is Starbucks’ excellent marketing. The venues smell great, they are inviting to visit. How do we entice volunteers to “come in?” What does your volunteer lounge look like? Do you have a lounge? If there is no lounge, how do you make the volunteers feel welcome and want to come back each week? Did you know that Disney purposely pumps the smells of cinnamon and other tasty fragrances in the air as you go down Main Street? This is not a coincidence, it is done on purpose to make you want to be there and spend some money. What can you “pump” into your venue to make the volunteer’s or employee’s day?

One of the biggest things that opened my eyes in all this training was what can you do to make someone’s day. This just isn’t a work philosophy, it is a life philosophy. We have such a great influence on other’s lives. How can we individually “make the day” of our colleagues, volunteers, spouses, families? We wield a mighty magical wand by really doing so little. “Thank you for coming in to volunteer today, I heard the staff say how wonderful it has been to have you on the unit.” Corporations are about saving money for greater profit, but they still need good employees with little turn over. Corporations have lots of tips for low or no cost recognition. These are valuable resources for those in the not for profit sector.

If you are interested and looking for a place to start, the latest book I just read was Lee Cockerell’s book, “Creating Magic – 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From A Life At Disney.” The book is a compilation of many of the best practices in the field of research in working with people. This is a great story of management and leadership from the storytelling company.

For more information about “for profit leadership” contact your local college or university for courses. I am also available for workshops to share how corporation research can enrich our field.

Charlene Dishaw has been coordinating volunteers since 1992. She completed the Certificate in Volunteer Management at Vancouver Community College, is a graduate of Simon Fraser University and Past President of the Administrators of Volunteer Resources British Columbia. Charlene can be reached at dishaw [ at ] alumni [ dot ] sfu [ dot ] ca.

National Volunteer Recognition Week “We Appreciate You!” Contest

It’s National Volunteer Recognition Week (April 15 – 21, 2012) and our chance to let those special volunteers in our lives know that “We Appreciate You!”.  All across Canada, all week long, volunteers will be celebrated and thanked in a myriad of different ways.

This year, Volunteer Victoria has partnered with Wells Gray Tours and CHEK TV to celebrate our local volunteers through the “We Appreciate You!” contest. Until April 20th you can nominate someone in our community for the great work they are doing. The winner will be announced on CHEK News at 5:00 p.m. on April 23rd and will receive the Wells Gray Vancouver Gardens & Gourmet 3 day All-Inclusive Tour – June 24-26.

Don’t miss this great new opportunity to show a deserving unsung hero how much they are appreciated! Nominate someone deserving today!







Did You Know? Over 180,000 local volunteers give 32 million hours of their time, talent and dedication to our community each year? That’s an average of 178 hours/each per year!

I know you’ll agree that we just couldn’t do what we do without them! Whether feeding the homeless, sitting on boards, coaching our youth, teaching a teen to read or driving seniors to appointments (and doing everything in between!) volunteers provide critical, caring support to people of all ages in our community. Thank you volunteers!

Here is a run-down of the activities we have planned this week. Tell us what your organization is doing to celebrate!

Stay tuned as we will be sharing some volunteer profiles with you this week as well. Thanks again to those members who submitted them! We hope you will keep them coming!

Here is what the week looks like…

Monday, April 16th – Tune in to KOOL Mornings with Robin and Brian on 107.3 KOOL FM at 10:15 a.m. to hear an on-air interview with our Youth Program Coordinator, Leanna Hill. Topics include: impact of youth volunteerism and trends as well as some of the interesting ways youth are helping to shape our vibrant community.

At 1:10 p.m., tune in to Dave Dickson‘s show on C-FAX 1070 AM and join Executive Director, Lisa Mort-Putland and Lori Elder Manager, Communications & Community Relations as they speak to such topics as the value/impact of our local volunteers and the importance of National Volunteer Week, as well as share up-to-date information regarding volunteering trends.

Wednesday, April 18th – Look for our full colour “Thank You Volunteers!” Co-op ad in the Black Press (in Victoria News, Saanich News, Oak Bay News, Goldstream News Gazette and Peninsula News Review). Also banner ads in the Victoria News Daily on April 17 & 19.

Then from 4:30 – 7:00 p.m. get inspired while supporting our local youth! Join us for a thought-provoking screening of a documentary film at RRU called R/Evolution in support of our Youth Volunteer Connections Program (YVCP).  Admission by donation with all proceeds to Volunteer Victoria’s Youth Program. Suggested donation $5. Register to Attend In Person or through Live-Stream Web Video. A panel presentation will follow with the Exec. Producer of the film and local leaders. View the 8-minute trailer http://www.r-evolutionthemovie.com/thefilm.html

Friday, April 20th – Volunteer Victoria’s Executive Director, Lisa Mort-Putland will help ring in volunteer week celebrations with the MS Society at their volunteer celebration event.

**Don’t forget! Our “We Appreciate You!” volunteer contest ends with CHEK TV/Wells Gray Tours on April 20th! The winner will be announced on April 23rd on-air during CHEK TV’s 5 p.m. news.

Saturday, April 21st/Sunday, April 22 – Look for our full colour “Thank You Volunteers!” Co-op ad in the Times Colonist.

Volunteers Grow Community! On behalf of Volunteer Victoria’s board, staff and volunteers a sincere thank you to all volunteers for your passion, dedication, caring, and time. We truly do appreciate you! Each and every day of the year!


Pat Robertson – Valued Volunteer with Broadmead Care Society

The following guest blog post was written by Kelly Sprackett, Coordinator of Volunteer Services at Broadmead Care Society, in praise of one of their long-time volunteers.  Thank you Kelly, for recognizing and sharing Pat’s impact on your organization!


Pat Robertson

Pat Robertson - one of Broadmead Care Society's valued volunteers.

We are proud to say that Pat Robertson has been a volunteer with Broadmead Care Society (and before that, our predecessor Tillicum and Veterans Care Society) since 1975. 

Pat continues to lead the sing along for elderly residents of The Lodge at Broadmead that she began at Tillicum Lodge 36 years ago – and shows no signs of stopping!

 Pat is remarkably dedicated, a natural leader with a quiet and gentle manner.  She lives to connect with others through music.  Her commitment and passion for volunteerism is evident in all that she does.  She also leads a community choir and has volunteered in the school system and at Swan Lake among other organizations too numerous to mention. Pat also served as a founding member of the Board of Tillicum and Veterans Care Society.

Pat does not volunteer for the recognition and is, in fact, rather uncomfortable with being in the spot light.  She is a great inspiration, a leader, and a friend to other volunteers who enjoy helping residents to participate in the sing along program.  She views her volunteering as a team effort, and she always brings out the best in residents and volunteers alike.

Pat is a great ambassador for Broadmead Care Society and has always approached her leadership from the perspective that she is part of a team where everyone has an important role to play. 

Volunteers with Broadmead Care Society make every moment matter.  With Pat Robertson, moments matter in the most honest and heart felt ways. Thank you Pat for all you do and have done for us!

If you would like to learn more and/or volunteer with Broadmead Care Society contact Kelly Sprackett (kelly.sprackett@broadmeadcare.com) or call Kelly at 250-658-0311.

New Regional Rep for AVRBC

I’d like to announce that Tina Lowery of the BC Cancer Agency has stepped in to share the Regional Representative position with me for our local Administrators of Volunteer Resources British Columbia (AVRBC) chapter.  Tina replaces Nancy Martens (more on Nancy below) in this shared position as of this summer, just in time to start off our new meeting year in September.  Tina is the Coordinator of Volunteer Services at the Vancouver Island Cancer Centre and, in her words, “works with and in support of the most amazing, talented and dedicated volunteers.”

If you haven’t heard of AVRBC before, please let me tell you about this wonderful organization.  AVRBC is BC’s provincial network for people who are involved in the administration/coordination/management of volunteers.  (Yes, this actually is a profession in our sector!) All over British Columbia groups of professionals are meeting regularly to talk about how to engage volunteers effectively in our organizations, and in our South Island region we have a particularly amazing chapter.

Our members in South Island meet from September to June on the third Thursday of every month over the noon hour. Sometimes we bring in a guest speaker, sometimes we participate in round-table sharing sessions amongst members, and sometimes we teach each other things that we are doing in our own organizations.  Whatever we’re up to each month, it is sure to be an engaging, fun and friendly atmosphere.  I have been proud to be co-leading this group here in Victoria for the last five years.

As mentioned above, Tina replaces Nancy Martens in the co-Regional Rep position.  Nancy works at the Queen Alexandra Centre for Children’s Health and has contributed many wonderful years of service to AVRBC in this position.  Her energy and positive attitude have always made our meetings a success.  Even though Nancy will no longer be a Regional Representative, we are lucky that she will continue to grace us with her presence at meetings by remaining as a member of AVRBC.

Nancy, thank you for all you’ve done in this leadership role! And Tina, I look forward to working with you to create a shared vision for what this chapter will accomplish from this point forward. I know many more good times are ahead!

The Gift of a Volunteer

The following guest blog post was written by Kyra Henry, Administrative Assistant at Threshold Housing Society, in praise of one of their volunteers.  Thank you Kyra, for sharing how impactful Fran’s presence has been on your organization!

I would like to tell you about Ms. Fran McArthur, our quilter extraordinaire and office support volunteer.  Let me explain.

We have two homes for youth-at-risk in Victoria.  When a resident is ready to leave, they are given a quilt to take with them.  They are told that each stitch represents love and hope for their future.  They do not know the women that have worked on these quilts, but they are made with love and these women want the youth to know that the community cares about them.

Fran donates her time and her own materials to make these quilts for our youth.   She has donated two quilts for our fundraising events with never a hesitation on her part.  Fran belongs to a quilters group and she has been driving force in getting her friends and group involved with making “Quilts for Kids” who live at Threshold.   Fran, herself, has made a number of these quilts.

Her concern for our youth to have a meaningful gift when they leave Threshold has bought many tears to both the girls and the boys who have received them.  For many it brings back a better time in their lives.  (Often a youth had a handmade quilt when younger, made by a grandparent.)

When I first started work at Threshold Housing Society, Fran also volunteered in the office, helping me get organized.  She has also helped with cleaning the houses.  She’s just the person you know you can count on as she’s always ready to pitch in and help with any task.  She is gentle, kind and caring. 

I’d like to recognize Fran McArthur for her dedication, her enthusiasm in everything she does and for sharing her creativity with all of us at Threshold.

To learn about volunteer opportunities with Threshold Housing Society, click here.

2011 Youth Now Awards

Do you know a remarkable youth? What about a group of remarkable youth?

Do you know a remarkable youth worker, or a super youth friendly organization or business?

United Way’s Youth Advisory Council, in partnership with the Intermunicipal Recreation Youth Services of Greater Victoria, have planned and are hosting this year’s Youth Now Awards to take place over International Youth Week (May 1-7). This 13th annual  awards ceremony will celebrate the valuable contributions young people (11-29 years old) make to our community.

You can be an adult, a family member, a child, a youth, a friend or anyone to nominate someone for an award! It’s that easy!

What’s the criteria? The Youth Now awards nomination package reads:

Individual youth and groups of youth (between 11 and 29 years old) who have provided extraordinary service to others, acted as role models for environmental stewardship, or demonstrated exceptional personal accomplishments can be nominated for Youth Awards.

Professionals who make a difference in the lives of the youth they work with, as well as businesses and organizations who excel at providing youth friendly services can also be nominated. There are no age restrictions for these two recognition categories. Nominations will be accepted until April 14th.

The categories are as follows:


Big Change Award: to recognize youth who have overcome major obstacles to make their own lives healthier, safer and happier.

Friendship Award: to recognize youth who practice true friendship and have gone out of their way to be a friend to others

NOTE: we strongly recommend that nominations for this award come from peers, friends and family members.

Green Award: to recognize youth who have gone above and beyond in the promotion and/or development of earth-friendly practices.

Group Volunteer Award: to recognize youth who give back to their community as part of an organized or informal group (group can be any size but its core members should be between the ages of 11 and 29).

Individual Volunteer Award: to recognize youth (ages 11 to 14, 15 to 19, or 20 to 29), who make extraordinary contributions to their communities and neighbourhoods through their volunteer activities.


Youth Friendly Business/Organization Award: to recognize businesses and/or organizations who excel at making their services and location youth friendly.

Youth Worker Award: to recognize the professionals who work with youth and make an incredible difference in their lives.

The achievements of all the nominees will be recognized at the Youth Now Awards Gala, to be held on May 6 at Royal Oak Middle School.  Everyone is welcome to attend. To reserve seats for the Youth Now Awards Gala, please call 250-220-7359 or email youth@uwgv.ca.

It doesn’t take a lot to recognise the young people in our community and in our lives: This is a great way to say thanks in a big way!

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