Celebrating Volunteer Managers

Categories: Blog

On November 5, we recognize International Volunteer Manager Appreciation Day. At WCC, we’re celebrating all month long.

Our outstanding Partners, Programs, and Volunteers team is a pillar of the WCC community. These team members empower and support our stellar volunteer Facilitators. They inspire deep connections with our partner organizations, and they bring to life the authentic magic of the WCC program.

In celebration of this team – which includes Siobhan (Director of Volunteers and Programs), Doug (Co-Executive Director), and Marijke (Workshop Outreach and Engagement Manager) – we asked WCC Facilitators to reflect on their journeys in volunteering and what the WCC team means to them.

IRENE: I joined my very first WCC workshop [as a writer] on a winter night at the Main St. Library. I was so nervous and wanted to turn around and leave when Siobhan welcomed me with such warmth. “Come in, sit down.” I’ll never forget her smile and the first prompt we wrote to, “Where I Am From” by Roberta Taylor. I wrote about where I was from, and in doing so, discovered where I belonged.

The following spring, in 2019, I learned about the Facilitators Training Program. I felt compelled to learn more and give back to the WCC community that had nurtured my wounded soul.

How can I describe the magic of volunteering? For two hours each time, I am lifted on the wings of words in community. Each and every workshop is like a blank canvas and each voice adds colour. Collectively, as a group, we are heard, seen, and transformed.

I wouldn’t be here without the support of Siobhan. Anytime I call her, she is there with a smile in her voice, happy to answer any question I might have. Marijke, too, keeps me informed with weekly emails and updates. 

The WCC has grown and I have grown with it, but at no time have I felt far from the centre. And at the centre of it all are the Partners, Programs, and Volunteers team, supporting WCC core values and best practices. I am so grateful. 

KATHLEEN: After attending WCC workshops through MDO (Mood Disorders Ottawa) and the Write On! series, my experiences were so positive that I wanted to be a part of this excellent organization.

When the chance came to get training as a volunteer Facilitator, I jumped on it. The training confirmed my expectations that WCC was a good fit for me. It was comprehensive, extensive, and helped me build up my confidence as a writer and Facilitator.

Siobhan, Doug, and Marijke are all supportive, open to my workshop ideas, and I feel genuinely appreciated by them. I find WCC to be one of my best volunteer experiences. Facilitating helps me to be a more dedicated writer when I facilitate regularly, and am inspired by the many other writers I encounter in the process. 

The authentic voices I am privileged to hear range from newcomer Canadians, English as a Second Language writers, people with diverse abilities, authors, poets, and lyricists of all ages – all of whom trust me with their words, thoughts, and feelings. I feel blessed.

RANA: I started writing with WCC when it was known as the Toronto Writers Collective (TWC). I wrote in the first Write On! program and then applied for the Facilitators’ training. I started facilitating right away, at the Fred Victor House in downtown Toronto. Meeting with such lovely writers and creating a safe space for all of us to share our writing makes volunteering as a WCC Facilitator rather special!

Listening to the feedback from our writers has added immensely to my own growth and understanding. Not just as a volunteer, but as a writer, too. Having the support of WCC’s wonderful personnel also contributes to the feeling of “family”.

I have been fortunate in that Siobhan and Doug were co-facilitators at my in-person Fred Victor workshops. Through the years, I have learned so much from them, and I know I can count on their help at any time. 

Siobhan and Doug have always been accessible—and I feel it is my privilege to have known them all these years. In recent months, I have gotten to know Marijke through our virtual interactions. She is lovely, so gentle and understanding.

The WCC thanks Irene, Kathleen, and Rana for sharing their reflections. We extend our sincerest gratitude to the Partners, Programs, and Volunteers team for everything they do. Happy Volunteer Managers Appreciation Day! 
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