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Fighting COVID-19
Volunteer Caring, Leadership, and joining the CAUSE!

“Fight for the things that you care about, but do it in a way that leads others to join you.”

US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburgh (1933 – 2020)

Wednesday, September 23, 2020 was the day on which Justice Ginsburg was laid to rest in Washington’s Arlington National Cemetery after a legendary 27 years on the United States Supreme Court. A nation mourns the loss of a champion, then guardian, of women’s rights and the rights of minorities, judicial activism that more recently has embraced gender equality in addition to a long term mandate to end deep-seated race discrimination.

When Justice Ginsburg passed away, actress Michelle Pfeiffer on ‘social media’ brought attention to the quotation above (one of many wise truisms made by Ginsburg over her remarkably activist career as an eminent jurist). How does this earnest advice relate to volunteering?

There are 3 words, possibly 4, that relate to volunteerism, here and now, and which even embrace it. Care, leads, join. The fourth, and most charged, is Fight.

COVID-19 in Peel region, as in most populated regions in the world, has been nothing less than a crisis, not merely an ‘Emergency’. We all have been affected, a few of us directly touched by it, or at least by its impact on health, family, our neighbourhoods, and upon livelihoods. There is suffering and loss on many fronts, in many tragic ways.

It’s no secret that community response in Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon has been exemplary and effective. For many workers and volunteers on whatever ‘front line’ of response each is involved in, with overwhelming, heroic commitment comes exhaustion with degrees of doubt about sustained effectiveness and whether this is going to end, and when, while wondering about the ‘new normal’.

Even with fatigue and doubt, our volunteers continue to care, and stand fast in their roles. Few things in life are more heroic than that. The volunteer sector cares about those less able to fight the virus and its ‘isolating effects’, helping those members of our communities, and indeed ourselves, achieve a solid return to security of health and wellness by putting COVID-19 consistently at bay.

No one wants to give up, which is truly extraordinary. Just how many ‘rounds’ are left is anyone’s guess, but we’re prepared to ‘go the distance’ in fighting to defeat an adversary that gives no quarter and will need to be ‘knocked out’.

As volunteers and community service organizations fight to defeat the pandemic and its effects, plus work towards a sustainable emergence, we realize that we cannot do it alone, nor should we. And that’s where Justice Ginsburg’s words really do come into play, in this way. Responders to COVID-19 are leaders, whether you acknowledge that or not (but Volunteer MBC knows), and to gain the upper hand during the challenge of emergence and divide the commitment, labour, and effort, it’s time to use your leadership to attract others to join in the fight.

Both volunteerism and community service organizations’ initiatives towards engagement are ‘leadership by example’ and ‘caring in action’, nothing less. Time to talk about your contributions openly, and not be reticent or shy. Tell your story to Volunteer MBC. We’re always listening, with the means to boost your ‘helping hands’ in the Emergency, and such testaments (testimonials) are a great way to have others identify with and join the cause, with Volunteer MBC right here to connect your fellow residents to volunteering opportunities in Peel that are in the thick of the fight to defeat COVID-19.

Volunteer MBC will always be ‘in your corner’ as long as COVID-19 lasts, helping you help others, messaging your exemplary leadership to enlist your friends, neighbours, co-workers, and your community to join in the fight, and for community service organizations, as the volunteer centre in Peel, we are ready, willing, and able to enlarge your teams of volunteers through assisting you with meaningful, effective recruitment, screening, and engagement.

Robert MacFarlane
Consultant, Referral Service