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National Volunteer Week 2020 - Thank You to All YWCA Volunteers!

National Volunteer Week (April 19 – 25) is a time for organizations across Canada to honour volunteers for the irreplaceable impact of their time and energy all year round. In 2019, YWCA Metro Vancouver had 814 volunteers dedicate an incredible 25,797 hours to our programs and services.

We can’t express enough gratitude to the volunteers who help the YWCA thrive. Meet a few from 2019:

Beckham - Youngest Volunteer

Beckham, 7, along with his family, made gift bags for families at Crabtree Corner and decorated Emma’s Early Learning and Child Care Centre for the holidays.

He and his brother Phoenix, 9, were all smiles after their masterpiece tree was completed, brightening up the Centre for the festive season. Mom Paulia says the family hopes to help out again this year.

Pam and Pauline – Most Hours

If you pop into the YWCA Thrift Shop for the first time in a while, you might not recognize the place. This is thanks to two extremely dedicated friends, Pam and Pauline, who have been volunteering up to five days a week since March last year, and have given the shop a completely new look and feel.

The pair (banner photo above) met while volunteering at another thrift store 10 years ago and have taken up volunteering opportunities together ever since. Pam brings the organizational skills and structure and Pauline brings the creativity and vision. “Between the two of us we’re the complete package I think,” Pauline says.

The dynamic duo volunteer for two reasons – to keep themselves active in their retirement, and to support single moms and their families.

 “Women and children are the bedrock of our society so I’m happy to support anything that supports them.”

Pauline says it feels good to be of service. “Everyone should volunteer. I would make it a rule of life.”

Miriam – Longest Serving

It’s been 41 years since Miriam first walked through the doors of the YWCA Health + Fitness Centre and discovered her new community.

As a single mom newly arrived in Vancouver, Miriam was stressed, smoking three packs of cigarettes a day and drinking “tons” of coffee. “I can honestly say the Y saved me – I quit smoking, began managing my stress, and found the wonderful benefits of exercise,” she says.

“I discovered that by taking the instructor program and volunteering I could get a complimentary membership. Even though I was very shy with low self-esteem, I took the program and starting teaching. I’ve never looked back.”

Miriam has now been a volunteer instructor with the YWCA for 39 years, but she doesn’t forget her roots. “Deep in my heart, I remember the difficult times I went through as a single parent… As a group fitness volunteer, I hope I can bring a little release and fun to someone’s day.”

To all of our volunteers who give a little or a lot – we are so grateful for you!

Due to COVID-19, our volunteer opportunities are currently on hold and our Thrift Shop and Health + Fitness Centre are temporarily closed. We look forward to reconnecting with our volunteers and welcoming new volunteers when it's safe to do so. In the meantime, if you would like to support the YWCA by donating goods or organizing an online fundraiser, please contact Alice Russell at 604 895 5828 | arussell@ywcavan.org.

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