Volunteering in my community is very important to me – it binds us together and I always learn so much.
As it happened, when I finished this post, I was off to film some video for the Japanese Cultural Fair, which happened after the election. I enjoy this volunteer work as co-editor and translator for the Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society | ビクトリア日系文化協会 (VNCS), because it keeps me in touch with the Japanese community (I have a post grad degree in Classical Japanese literature). The VNCS has presented this event for 19 years.
UPDATE: I was just elected to the VNCS board, I am humbled and have a lot of learning to do before I can contribute much — challenge accepted!
My philosophy on volunteerism is to do what you can, when you can, never over promise, and remember, self-care is important too–try not to over do it. Whereas it take a community to raise a child, it takes uncountable volunteers, each with different skills and experiences, to make a community. I have volunteered on various boards, societies, community organizations, schools, relief efforts and fundraising for causes all my life. Below is a select list of volunteer work I have done that have given me keen insights and experience I believe are relevant to my candidature for Colwood Council.
Federation of Canadian Municipalities – Canada 150 Community Leader for the City of Colwood – 2017
I was the municipal voice of Canada 150 at local events, documenting and putting on social media the stories of Colwood’s Canada 150 efforts. Canada 150 Community Leaders across Canada were touch points to share information about Canada’s 150th Anniversary of Confederation.
See the letter from the Minister of Canadian Heritage, in cooperation with the Federation of Canadian Municipalities, inviting municipalities across Canada to appoint Canada 150 Community Leaders in their communities.
Our Place Society, Sponsor a Meal Program– ongoing since 2010
Our Place serves 1200-1500 meals daily — that costs a lot. So, usually as part of a group, we donate $500 for the cost of breakfast AND then go down and cook and serve breakfast with the fine staff at Our Place. The people receiving breakfast are so kind and appreciative, and every single time I have some great conversations with people.
The last time I did this, in June 2018, was with another organization I volunteer at, Skål Victoria, a professional organisation of tourism leaders around the world, promoting global tourism and friendship. Is it as a board member there and we had a wonderful time. Find out how you can do this too, download Our Place Society’s Sponsor a Breakfast brochure.
Day Care Society of Banff – Board Member/Treasurer – 3 years
I volunteered as a board member with fundraising, because the society was facing closure, daycare was crucial to the community and I was running my own business and doing business plans, preparing budgets, working on day to day, and year end accounting. As controller and treasurer I formulated a budget and fundraising plan to bring the centre back to full enrolment, and put the organisation on a financially stable footing, with he help of a great collaborative team. I my last year I applied for and received a grant from the Alberta government for $75,000 to back major renovations, and increase daycare spaces.
Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society | ビクトリア日系文化協会 – Co-editor/translator/digital strategy, event help – ongoing 2018
The VNCS was formed in 1993 specifically to establish a sense of community for those of Japanese heritage and/or those interested in Japanese culture.
I am relatively new to the VNCS Newsletter editorial team, and am very thankful to the hard work my colleagues have put into this bilingual publication. In the coming months and years, I hope to meet their extraordinary efforts. VNCSニュースレター編集チームの新人、スコットと申します。私の同僚がこれまでバイリンガルニュースレターに尽力してきたことに非常に感謝しておます。 これからの数ヶ月と数年間で、私は彼らのすばらしい努力に近づきたいと思っておます。
Greater Victoria Flower Count – website, social media, schools liaison – ongoing since 2014.
The Greater Victoria Flower Count is an annual light-hearted promotion sponsored and organized by The Butchart Gardens, The Victoria Chamber, and Tourism Victoria. The goal is to bolster community pride and increase awareness of Greater Victoria as an attractive shoulder-season tourism destination. It brings national and international attention to the fact that Victoria (City of Gardens) has the mildest climate in Canada. I cannot tell you how proud it makes me that Colwood, especially students in our schools, step up and involve themselves in the community effort.
And something new…and it’s completely Mayor Carol Hamilton’s fault, she dragged me to a church where, little known to me, the Colwood Garden Society was holding an information meeting. I love gardens, I am a garden writer and belong to the GWA, Garden Writers Association, and I work at Gardens British Columbia, the garden tourism sector lead for Destination British Columbia…and so I am up for election to the board as media advisor at their AGM on October 27, 2018. Wish me Luck!
By the way, if you would like to volunteer with the Colwood Garden Society, here is a their volunteer sign up form.
On a very personal note, the very first time I volunteered as an adult was in the mid 1980s in Toronto at Casey House. It was a hospice care facility, where gay men, young and old were dying from a terrible unknown disease, which we all know now as HIV/Aids. We had trouble finding volunteers, people were understandably frightened. But there was also a darker side of discrimination and stigma. This informed my views on equality, being non-judgmental, and kindness; and, I am a fierce defender of all three today. In my spare time, I offer mentorship to LGBTQ2+ street youth–volunteer work has hopefully made me a better human being, and I am so appreciative of these opportunities to help.
Find out more on my About page.