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OVCN VC Spotlight Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie
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OVCN VC Spotlight Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie

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  • 1. OVCN’s Volunteer Centre Spotlight Written by Kevin Sutton, Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator Winter 2014 Weaving a Wider Web Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie employs webinars to keep rural communities connected Ontario communities rely heavily on volunteers. The majority of our social services could not be delivered without them. This reliance is amplified in rural municipalities where an already small pool of skilled leaders and volunteers diminishes every year. As rural populations’ age and their young people seek the excitement and opportunity of the city, much rural human resource is lost. People become more and more isolated as social service programs shrink and consolidate over larger and larger areas in search of efficiency. This can leave the most vulnerable members of our rural communities without ready access to services, as fewer and fewer skilled community leaders are available to them. Only a generation ago rural communities were duly recognized as the lifeblood of the Province, and they still feed our cities with more than just an exodus of talent and youth. They still carry a rich cultural and natural heritage that defines Ontario’s identity and character, and they still provide the fresh local food our modern cities demand. Thankfully, there are those who are working to keep rural communities vital and robust. Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie is one Volunteer Centre that ensures not only that their own rural community is supplied with volunteer- related services, but that the entire District of Algoma is as well - an area of almost 50,000 square kilometres and a total population of 116,000 encompassing White River to the North and Elliot Lake to the East. Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie has relied on the close ties they have formed with municipalities and townships to deliver workshops and community forums, keeping in touch with much of the community by mail and fax. However, now most communities have an established communications infrastructure allowing them access to volunteer resources and information via Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie’s brand new website ~ www.volunteerssm.ca Knowing that rural communities often lack the resources to deliver and promote volunteer opportunities through community agencies, Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie set up Volunteer Algoma, an online database posting volunteer opportunities offered by community organizations throughout the District of Algoma, to provide opportunities for community engagement, publicity and promotion of volunteer issues / special events, to facilitate and encourage connections within the district. It’s all part of the leadership role this conscientious Volunteer Centre takes on. Knowing that rural communities often lack the resources and facilities for the recruitment, training, education, management and recognition of volunteers, Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie set up Volunteer Algoma to provide opportunities for community engagement, publicity and promotion of volunteer issues and special events, and programs and services for member agencies, as well as to facilitate and encourage connections within the district. It’s all part of the leadership role this conscientious Volunteer Centre takes on. But that’s not all. Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie, a Volunteer Centre with 35 years in the community was host to the Effective Volunteer Recruitment Fundamentals webinar series. The four modules are designed to be cost- effective and help member organizations develop the skills to recruit and retain volunteers. It’s delivered through Capacity Builders - training and management support for the not-for-profit sector- and presented by volunteer management expert, Lori Gotlieb.
  • 2. OVCN’s Volunteer Centre Spotlight Written by Kevin Sutton, Communications & Community Engagement Coordinator Winter 2014 Module one is delivered in two parts, module one lays out the volunteer recruitment fundamentals, and teaches you how to properly market your volunteer opportunities. Module two focuses in on recruiting Baby-boomers and their host of skills and networks. Module three relays the characteristics and challenges of building a corporate volunteer program. While module four helps you harvest the passion and creativity that youth bring to volunteering. “Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie continues to develop new ways to reach out,” says Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie Manager, Cheryl Linklater Halverson. “To strengthen our support to volunteer coordinators, managers and volunteers in organizing productive, useful workshops, delivered by skilled professionals. Webinars are another creative avenue to communicate with our network of organizations.” Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie, a division of United Way SSM and district, works closely with community agencies and organizations. The Volunteer Centre engages in several programs including the Community Volunteer Income Tax Program, Community Christmas for Children, and Community Assistance Trust Program with association to the Information and Referral Program, and Community Liaison Program. “Over the years I have been on staff I have witnessed an evolution of change in Volunteer SSM,” says Linklater Halverson. “As a member of the Provincial Network, the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN) has been able to strengthen our visibility. We are recognized as the face of volunteerism in our community.” -30- For more information about the remarkable accomplishments of the Volunteer Sault Ste. Marie please visit their website at www.volunteerssm.ca Stepping Forward: Volunteer Centre Spotlight Series The Ontario Volunteer Centre Network presents the ‘Stepping Forward Program – a community service initiative and spotlight series’ that celebrates the unsung contribution that Volunteer Centres make towards a vibrant and prosperous Ontario. Now is the time to take volunteerism to the next level by recognizing and enabling Ontario's Volunteer Centres as they continue to step forward in service to our communities. Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (519) 731-5550 kevin@ovcn.ca For more information about Stepping Forward visit www.ovcn.ca

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