Culturally Welcoming Volunteerism

Here is a call to action for Inclusive Leaders everywhere: Search for culturally welcoming volunteer opportunities in your community and get actively involved! If you are already volunteering for a culturally welcoming organization, email us and share your news!

In the Cowichan Region, Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, a participatory day of Exploring the Art of being Culturally Welcoming is coming up. There is space for thirty volunteer coordinators and others involved in volunteerism in this workshop being held at Providence Farm on Tuesday, November 7, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. Reserve your seat by emailing or phoning 250-748-2133. The $20 registration fee ($30 for two) includes a networking luncheon.

Here is a story that illustrates the value and importance of organizing and participating in Inclusive Leadership experiences such as this workshop on being Culturally Welcoming:

I began volunteering in Canada by a blessed chance. I was exploring art galleries and museums in the small town of Duncan, BC, Canada when I happened to approach a room that I thought was part of a museum. A tall boy with a wonderful smile invited me to enter and see what was going on. I suddenly found myself welcomed by a very heterogeneous group, for age and ethnicity. They told me they were volunteers working on a service project. 

In two minutes, I was one more of the group. It was very natural to sit and have something to do, but when I left the group two hours later I thought, ‘How is it possible that these people make me feel so naturally integrated, and welcomed?’ I decided to return the next week. 

During the days spent volunteering in Duncan, BC, Canada  I could see what happens when cultures are getting to know each other. Definitely, this volunteer experience in Canada changed a lot about my way to see the world. Even now that I have come back to Sardinia, Italy I cant see the world in the same way anymore.” (Excerpt from a story by Iliana Ruggiu, a graduate student from Sardinia, Italy who spent three months studying and volunteering in Canada)

Just as inclusive and welcoming communities are enriched by volunteers from diverse backgrounds, the experience of volunteering is enriched by volunteering in inclusive and welcoming organizations. Inclusive and welcoming organizations are simply wonderful places to volunteer because staff and volunteers deeply value opportunities to get to know who people are as well as what they have to offer. In a culturally welcoming organization, volunteers from diverse backgrounds are not only welcomed, they are celebrated for enriching the organization with their different gifts.