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A Volunteer Program Update

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Shannon, Queen's Square | May 1, 2021

This past year has brought more than a little change for everyone – and the Idea Exchange Volunteer Program has been no exception. As our facilities have moved through waves of complete closure, reduced capacities and intermittent services pauses, our volunteer program has transitioned to online and take home volunteer opportunities, and an adjusted VLS delivery model. We’ve tried a lot. We’ve learned a lot! While we as a community, and a world in fact, slowly move through all this and settle into a new normal, our volunteer program will inevitably evolve, so it’s time for an update. What has stayed the same? What is changing?  Let’s talk about it.

What has stayed the same?

As always, the volunteer program at Idea Exchange remains focused on inviting our community to play an important role in who we are and what we are doing. To join the volunteer team you must attend a welcome interview, general orientation and when necessary for the role you will play, further training and screening. Volunteers on our team must have completed grade eight, or be fourteen years old to join the team. Once you are set up, you can book the volunteering that works for you online through VicNet, and your volunteer record will tabulate accumulated hours, anniversaries and other pertinent information. You will receive volunteer perks, and volunteer newsletters to keep you in the loop.

Cornerstone volunteer opportunities though potentially altered in the way that they are delivered, will remain the same.  Material preparation, the Visiting Library Service and Practice Your English volunteering opportunities will continue to be available. Tour guides, special events volunteering and children’s program support volunteering will resume once we are able.

Volunteers are still choosing to engage with us so that they can connect with and contribute to the lives of their neighbours and community. Volunteering is still a magnificent way to explore your interests, meet new friends, build new skills and discover new things!

What has changed?

Special Projects have been an exciting new development at Idea Exchange. From #AloneTogether Cambridge Quaranzine, the Post Card and Poster Projects, to the current Poppy Project, and we’ve been innovative with take-home projects that allow you to contribute to the health and welfare of our community from home. For these we have been able to welcome in engagement from outside of our volunteer team, confirming volunteer contributions to those not on our team through our letter.

The biggest change has been that we’ve added an online component to our volunteering. Currently our Practice Your English sessions are all online, and the volunteers join us via Zoom to assist. Our next round of volunteer interviews and orientation sessions, taking place in May 2021, will take place completely online.  We’ve discovered that taking programs online can actually increase our reach, and find folks who might not be able to get in to our locations for services. Going forward, online programming is sure to be a part of our future – and volunteer opportunities will include online options.

So when you are ready to welcome all the wonderful advantages of donating your time and effort, drop me a line – or better still, fill in a volunteer application and meet with me personally. I’d love to welcome you to our fabulous team of volunteers!