TAVA Member Spotlight
Name: Donnett BaileyOrganization: Yonge Street Mission (YSM)
Role: Volunteer Resources CoordinatorWorking in the Volunteer Engagement Sector for: Over 20 years
Been a part of TAVA for: Over 20 years
"Due in no small part to the contributions of the over 13 million charitable and non-profit sector volunteers, our 'sector contributes an average of 8.1% of total Canadian GDP, more than the retail trade industry and close to the value of the mining, oil and gas extraction industry', yet, there remains an immense lack of appreciation for volunteers, volunteerism, and the professionals who engage our volunteers!”
AS SOMEONE WORKING IN VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT, HOW DOES TAVA HELP YOU?
TAVA has provided me with countless growth opportunities, not limited to: professional development workshops, a forum to connect with others in my sector to exchange best practices and support, and the opportunity to serve in various leadership roles on the TAVA Executive Committee over the years (i.e. Past President, President, Vice President, Webmaster, Treasurer, Social Media…). And, most importantly, thanks to TAVA, I’ve been able to make some amazing friends and professional contacts!
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO EXPLORE/ ENTER VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT AS A PROFESSION?
My father was an avid voter and volunteer; and as a child I watched him doing both. He loved that doing both allowed him to exercise his civic duty! So, I guess, thanks to my dad, I caught the voting and volunteering bug early — and it stuck! With this in mind, when I was asked by a Director, that I worked with over 19 years ago, if I wanted to develop a volunteer program for our agency, even though I had no idea what I was doing, I said yes. And, since that job, I have always had jobs that in some way had an element of volunteer engagement. And, though you might hear me complaining about how stressful this profession is, I often quickly undermine that position by using the same breathe to proclaim how personally rewarding this profession is! Yes, as frustrating as this profession can sometimes be, I really love that it allows me to be more socially responsible, and to create opportunities for others to be more civically engaged in their communities!
IN YOUR OPINION, WHAT IS THE BIGGEST CHALLENGE TO WORKING IN VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT?
Due in no small part to the contributions of the over 13 million charitable and non-profit sector volunteers, our “sector contributes an average of 8.1% of total Canadian GDP, more than the retail trade industry and close to the value of the mining, oil and gas extraction industry”, yet, there remains an immense lack of appreciation for volunteers, volunteerism, and the professionals who engage our volunteers!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE LOOKING TO TAKE THE NEXT STEP IN THEIR VOLUNTEER ENGAGEMENT CAREER?
I would encourage them to stay abreast of volunteer engagement best practices, to keep improving their skills (and professional accreditation) and building professional connections, through professional associations like the CVA, Volunteer Toronto, PAVRO and TAVA!
WHEN YOU'RE NOT WORKING, HOW DO YOU LIKE TO SPEND YOUR TIME?
You can find me volunteering, walking or watching movies. I don’t just support volunteers, I also love to volunteer. For example, over the past few years, I've volunteered on TAVA's Executive Committee (previously serving as Program Chair, Membership Chair, Treasurer, Webmaster, Social Media Coordinator, Vice President, President, and Past President), and as a volunteer Phone Counsellor, at the Toronto Distress Centres. I also love walking in nature - I personally love walking the Toronto beltline and any Canadian cemetery (most cemeteries host so much history and different species of trees, and changing seasonal landscapes). And, I also love foreign films, because for a few hours they allow you to disappear into another persons lived experience, and another life perspective!