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TAVA Member Spotlight

Name: Christine Callender

Organization: The Scott Mission

Been involved in volunteer engagement for: 3 years

Been a part of TAVA since: October 2016

"I recommend using regular check-ins to ensure that volunteers are still in a ‘happy place’. "

As someone working in Volunteer Engagement, how does TAVA help you?

When I was first invited to a TAVA meeting by a colleague, I thought to attend one workshop only as a polite gesture of "thank you". I then saw the menagerie of offered workshops and resources ... all excellent, fabulous, and highly beneficial to maintain a successful volunteer program. Membership soon followed, and I continually look forward to each TAVA event.

In the past year, what was your most memorable professional project and why?

As the lead member of a community grassroots committee, our mandate is to provide community residents with professionally-facilitated workshops related to trauma, safety and personal well-being. We also look for opportunities to partner with community businesses as it fosters familial spirit, and build opportunities for residents to become involved in their neighbourhood through the programs and growth of these businesses. This past year, we successfully partnered with 8 new community entities including caterers, restaurants/food suppliers and resident-led businesses.

Would you please explain the professional success you're most proud of and how you implemented it?

I am passionate about community engagement and work with organizations “to represent the interests and work towards positive changes”, to inspire, enhance and provide connectedness. Our grassroots committee delivers program and events focused on the isolated, senior females in our neighbourhood. We claim success based on feedback from participants who state that they feel cared for, and that they continually look forward to the next event. Specifically, they shared that, “We need more events like this”, “I would like to have more workshops like this one”, and “Awesome day”.

In youR opinion, which part of the Volunteer Engagement cycle is the most challenging? What tips do you have for overcoming associated challenges?

Retention is a challenge we face regularly in this profession and I have found that it is important to ask potential volunteers about their expectations from a volunteer role. For successful applicants, I recommend using regular check-ins to ensure that volunteers are still in a ‘happy place’.

It's also important to check in with volunteers when they try new roles. Recently, in the absence of two volunteers, I asked another volunteer to assist in both areas as needed, and I checked in with her regularly. Her feedback was that, “I really like this floating thing”. Moving forward, this volunteer has agreed to proactively look for opportunities were she can assist.

What advice would you give to someone looking to take the next step in their Volunteer Engagement career?

I would recommend that they join an organization like TAVA or seek the guidance of an individual willing to share their experience and expertise. As well, look to Volunteer Toronto for in-house workshops which can lead to certification with PAVRO.

When you're not working, how do you like to spend your time?

I used to be an avid reader, and enjoyed knitting and crocheting. I am currently committed to volunteer activities at church which include overseeing a Ministry that serves the community with food and clothing, writing grants for funding of community events, doing errands for senior neighbours … and taking online courses through

Published: February 2019

Thank you  for choosing to be a TAVA member. We love to learn, connect and share with you. We hope your TAVA membership adds value to your daily work and life!  - TAVA Executive Committee

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