Open hearts. Honest conversations.

Episode 4: A Love Letter to our Volunteers

In this episode Valerie is joined by Michele Varley, our Senior Manager of Volunteer and Community Engagement, together they talk about the power of volunteerism not only to enhance our communities, but also to enhance the lives of volunteers.

We’ve referred to this conversation as a Love Letter to our own volunteers, and to all people who volunteer across the globe. This pandemic year has made clear the importance of seeing ourselves as part of a collective, and acting as if we are all responsible for each other. Nowhere has that been more evident than in the joyful, creative, passionate work of our Family Services of the North Shore volunteer team. This mighty group of over 600 people does work that is essential. In 2020 our volunteers gave over 10,000 hours of service and helped us raise more than $50,000 to buy groceries for hungry families!

Without our volunteers many of our programs would be impossible to run. Volunteers are an integral part of this agency’s team, and every day we are amazed and inspired by their commitment to compassionate, enthusiastic service.

If this past year has left you feeling anxious, lonely, sad or just plain unmotivated, we hope this podcast will leave you feeling energized and encouraged to reach out to us or to another local organization to volunteer. You will be providing an incredible service to your community, and some of those feelings of worry, loneliness, and sadness you may be experiencing will be lifted through your service to others.

Show Notes:

  • People choose to volunteer for many reasons a few of which are:  wanting to be included and part of their children’s or families activities, a desire to give back to the community, they have time and want to fill it, they have moved into a new neighbourhood and want to connect with others in their area and make friends.
  • Volunteering offers a sense of belonging, of connecting, and of contributing to the community.
  • Family Services of the North Shore volunteers are involved in many of the services our Agency offers.  Some possible volunteer jobs are:  flipping pancakes at client events or programs, delivering groceries, making caring phone calls to community members in need, behind the scenes administrative support and more.
  • There are opportunities for everyone depending on your interests, skills, and the amount of time you have to offer.
  • Volunteering is fun!  Working with a group of committed people feels like good, meaningful teamwork.   At Family Services of the North Shore, volunteer teams look at a problem in the community and work together to figure out how to resolve it.
  • During the pandemic our volunteers helped us develop our grocery delivery program and the caring phone calls that are made to individuals who are particularly isolated right now.
  • Through this connection to clients our volunteer program is able to respond the needs that clients tell us about, so that we can move nimbly to assist with community issues, often in real-time, as they come up.
  • Everyone benefits from volunteerism; clients and volunteers lives are enriched by their interactions, and relationships between volunteers teams often lead to great friendships.
  • One of the other benefits of volunteering is learning about members of the community you might not otherwise meet, regardless of their economic situation, work, age, cultural background, everyone.
  • An important aspect of this work is also realizing that in life, sometimes we are givers and sometimes we are receivers and it is only circumstances that separate those two groups.   Many of our clients plan to become volunteers when they are in a better situation.
  • If you are on the fence about whether to volunteer or not “what are you waiting for?  Just do it.”


  • If you are interested in getting involved as a volunteer, click here to learn more.
  • If enjoyed the podcast and would like to support our work, click here to learn about becoming a donor.
  • To access counselling for children, youth, and adults, email our intake counsellor
  • Thrive Family Programs for parents of kids aged 0-6 are free of charge.  Virtual and outdoor options available.  To learn more, click here.

We would love to hear from you!

If you have questions about this podcast or suggestions for our future podcasts.

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