As with other subheadings under the Charter of Volunteerism, on the right there is addressed what community service organizations PROVIDE, in many respects a mirror image to what volunteers contribute.
Let’s look at the words and phrases closely. ‘Vital resources’ certainly goes to what is being provided, but the focus and emphasis that prevail among more visionary organizations relate to the quality of the volunteering experience, plus its impact upon the volunteer and the community. Inherent, too, are the goals that a better society strives for: ‘Knowledge, skills, confidence, and pugrpose’ that produce ‘Healthy community connectivity’. Time after time, reaching for these goals alone within an engaging mission has yielded exciting, far reaching results, notably human investments that build upon themselves to alter institutions, improve lifestyle, and reduce or eliminate hardship within a community. All this goes towards betterment of the human condition, in essence the way we treat each other.
Last February, Volunteer MBC joined with Peel HIV/Aids Network, thanks to the generosity of a Government of Ontario partnership grant, to bring dialogue about diversity and inclusiveness to the forefront, having special regard to the LGBTQ+ community. Pride in Volunteering continues to be a fixture within Volunteer MBC’s Learning Centre, and to a significant degree, this initiative led to the inclusion of the final point, “Spaces that are safe, where volunteers flourish’.
That is such an important, forward looking phrase. At the moment, its reception falls somewhere between aspiration and realization. There remains so much work to be done, mindsets to mold and meld, and Volunteer MBC believes in the genuine need to sustain momentum, so that community service organizations ultimately will view diversity and inclusiveness as ‘business as usual’, as opposed to an extraordinary objective.
As noted inclusion strategist Verna Myles has wisely observed, “Diversity is being invited to the party; inclusion is being asked to dance.”