Volunteer Centres – An Untapped Resource OPEN LETTER

On Labour Day, September 7th, Volunteer Markham joined Volunteer Centres across Canada in publishing a co-authored open letter to advocate for the essential and critical role of volunteers and the systems that enable them.

It is a critical time now to to be aware of the services and supports your Volunteer Centre provides. Every single Canadian benefits from the contribution of volunteers. Together we will recover.

Click here to read the letter.


In today’s unprecedented environment, with the world in a State of Emergency, there are always communities and individuals ready and willing to help. In a pandemic, this becomes even more challenging when we cannot physically get together. Communities, organizations and individuals are all responsible to be diligent at Social Distancing. This is taking ACTION! This is making a difference!

There are new and emerging ways that individuals can contribute and an increasing need for support now, and in the near future, to ensure the health of our communities, charities and non-profits. As many organizations work through how to protect their communities safely and responsibly, we all need to remain patient and understanding. There are numerous resources available at Volunteer Canada https://volunteer.ca for both organizations and volunteers.

Volunteer Markham is here to help connect you to needed support! Please review the following list of ways to make a difference locally!

SCOUTS CANADA is still scouting and currently recruiting for Group Leaders! Please review their website at https://www.scouts.ca/volunteer/overview.html and/or email daisy.gao@scouts.ca for more information on how to volunteer.

Markham Cares Food Drive: Donate food items at any Markham Fire Station or at Longos, No Frills, Fresh Co, Whole Food Market. For more information click on https://www.markham.ca/wps/portal/home

Canada Sews – York Region:  This wonderful community initiative in Markham has grown to support all of York Region.  On April 21, 2020 8,000 ladies and gents across Canada have sewn more than 20,000 face masks, headbands, scrub caps and scrub bags for frontline workers, shelters, seniors and First Nations communities.  Volunteers are sewing, delivering, donating materials and helping to administer to help our community stay as safe as possible.  If you would like to help or are a frontline worker in need of any of these items please email canadasews.markham@gmail.com .  For more information click on https://www.facebook.com/groups/canadasewsmarkham/

CHATS: We know seniors are experiencing new challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but CHATS is here to help. CHATS have adapted some of their existing supports and have come up with some new ways to help. Urgently needs Personal Protective Equipment. Call 905-713-6596 to learn more about Telephone Socials, Telephone Security Checks and Visits, Meals on Wheels, Supports for Caregivers and how you can help. Please consider donating to CHATS. CHATS is in urgent need for Personal Protection Equipment for their front line workers. http://www.chats.on.ca

KIDS Help Phone needs you!  You can practice social distancing and still ensure that you are helping kids when kids need someone.  For three decades, young people have been reaching out to Kids Help Phone for the support they need.  In 2018, in partnership with Crisis Text Line, Kids Help Phone launched the first ever 24/7, free, nationwide texting service. Through Crisis Text Line powered by Kids Help Phone, young people can chat confidentially with trained, volunteer Crisis Responders.  Learn how to volunteer and/or support Kids Help Phone now at https://kidshelpphone.ca/get-involved/participate/call-volunteers-crisis-text-line/ 

Markham Stouffville Hospital: Urgently needs Personal Protective Equipment . Click https://www.helpmsh.ca/ for more information (including how to create or support an online fundraiser).

Mon Sheong Foundation: Urgently needs Personal Protective Equipment (Level 2 Masks, masks with face shields, washable gowns, disposable gowns). Visit http://www.monsheong.org for various ways of giving or email samanthaho@monsheong.org.

Nanny Angel Network: Volunteers Needed. Volunteer support has been moved to a virtual opportunity to help mothers with cancer and their children. Email:
volunteer@nannyangelnetwork.com to learn more or to help.

Participation House “Making life better for people with disabilities”: Volunteers are needed to do grocery shopping for essential items. They have 4 locations in Markham for drop off  https://participationhouse.net/   Please email prerna.mehta@participationhouse.net

Yellow Brick House: Emergency Shelter is remaining operational as an essential service. Please visit https://www.yellowbrickhouse.org/ and review their “Wish List”. All donated items must be new.

Please remember, there are many ways to give!

You can donate financially to a charity of choice at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/

You can donate blood. Learn more at http://www.blood.ca

You can write letters or draw pictures for seniors or health care workers! Once completed you could snap a picture and email it to mirja.raita@volunteermarkham.ca

Currently, there is an emerging request for sewers to create “at home” face masks (not to be substituted for the PPE requirements for front line workers) for individual use. For more information on how to make these masks or where you can donate them please contact mirja.raita@volunteermarkham.ca

You NEED to stay safe, stay informed and stay connected!

Together we will get through this!

Volunteer Markham -COVID-19 Prevention Measures

Due to recent outbreak of COVID-19, Volunteer Markham is encouraging all our volunteers, staff and community to take the necessary steps to stay safe during these unpredictable times. Similar to the many organizations in Markham, we are weighing our options on a day-to-day basis. At this time, Volunteer Markham is here to help you virtually, so please do continue to connect with us!

To ensure the health and safety of our volunteers and our community, we ask that you please take the following steps based on Ontario Ministry of Health guidelines;

  1. Practise social distancing and stay home! If you need to go out please limit the time and frequency and ensure to stay safe. Social distancing involves taking steps to limit the number of people you come into close contact with. If you are required to leave home please maintain a 2 metre (6 feet) distance from others.

2. Ensure hand washing stations are available and accessible. Encourage staff, volunteers and visitors to thoroughly and regularly wash their hands and keep hands away from their face. Wipe, clean, disinfect as many surfaces that you come into contact with as possible (including door knobs, gas pumps, shopping carts, handles, etc.)

3. We ask our volunteer organizations that you remind volunteers  of the most effective ways to stay healthy. talking to your supervisor, manager, or employer about the possibility of working from home where possible. We all have an individual responsibility to keep ourselves and our families safe.

4. We ask that you post signage and advise volunteers who are ill to stay home and/or postpone their volunteer tasks/shifts. Encourage and support individuals in making their own personal choices and stay connected.

5. Please post signage and advise volunteers who have travelled to affected areas or those that have been exposed to COVID-19 in the last 14 days to postpone their activities and self-quarantine and/or attend an “Assessment Centre”.

Thank-you to our volunteers and our community for your cooperation and patience during these times. Should you have any further questions, please contact us. Stay informed and stay connected. We will make it through together.


Volunteers Needed: What’s New!

Are you looking to make a difference, an impact, a positive change in your community? Support local organizations by volunteering your time and skills. Simply look at all the volunteer opportunities available currently on our database or click on “What’s New” for recent opportunities. To learn about the following new volunteer opportunities listed just click on the links. Don’t forget to create a profile and we will update you directly!


The Canadian Cancer Society is looking for a Ceremonies Lead for their Relay For Life. There is a wonderful opportunity to create a meaningful event in your community that celebrates those who have lived, are living, and moving past cancer. The experience of cheering on survivors, walking the track, and joining in a range of trackside activities at Relay For Life (RFL) creates an unforgettable evening! 
As a Ceremonies Lead, you are creative, innovative, and comfortable with public speaking. You will design and deliver significant messaging for the four ceremonies that will take place during the RFL event. Your experience with event management and your attention to detail will have a significant impact on the tone of the night and be critical in creating a sense of community. 
You will be part of a committee that meets regularly over the year, with increasing commitments as the event approaches. Each committee member will have their own portfolio but will share a passion for the mission: to provide the opportunity for those affected by cancer to come together and draw support while raising funds for critical, life-saving cancer research and programs.


The Cyrus Foundation and Community Centre is looking for a Social Media and Web Manager. Do you have experience and skills in Website Management and E-commerce? The Social Media and Web Manager will be responsible to develop, maintain, and update the organization website and social media avenues, including production of web content, in a manner that is appealing to targeted audience, developing brand awareness, generating inbound traffic and encouraging product adoption.  

Giving Tuesday (and every day)

GIVING TUESDAY IS TOMORROW! Giving Tuesday follows Black Friday and Cyber Monday to celebrate the season of GIVING!

Join the many Canadians and turn Tuesday into one that could mean so much for another! Donate your time, items you no longer need, money and/or your experience to someone who would really appreciate that you did.

Let Volunteer Markham help you or donate to us to help us help others!

To find a volunteer opportunity just click here:

To donate now just click


If you are a non profit organization in Markham and need volunteers please click here and let us help you!

Tis the Season for volunteering

It is a popular time of the year for giving! As we all begin thinking of that special gift or memory, we are here to remind you that the greatest treasure you have is your time! It is sometimes the hardest to give but remains the most valued thing we have.

There are so many wonderful ideas of how to make this year’s holiday season the best one yet. There are far too many stories to share here but I do welcome you to post and share your traditions and memories for others to learn from.

To kick off the season of giving, here at Volunteer Markham, our Youth Executive Team at Change the World Markham welcome other youth to volunteer with them at Markhaven Seniors Home for Brain Games!  Sign up at:  bit.ly/braingamesctw

“Changing The World Has No Borders”

Volunteerism is the foundation to healthy and happy communities – not just in Markham, but around the world. Whether it is a community summer camp, or a Red Cross mission in South America, volunteering impacts societies across the globe.

It’s me again everyone – Rubaina! I am back today with a little extra October motivation for you all. I am aware school is well on its way and midterms are right around the corner; we are all in the need for a little pick me up. As I was speaking with many of my peers over the last month about their volunteer experiences and their summers, I came across an intriguing experience that I thought would be amazing to share with anyone thinking of Volunteering. My close friend, Rebecca Zhong, recently went on a Volunteer mission to Peru in August this past summer. She, too, is a Grade 12 student at Markville Secondary School in Markham, Ontario. I sat down with her to ask her everything about her experiences and her advice to any aspiring volunteers. The results are a must read if you are seeking inspiration, motivation, and information!

How did you come across the opportunity?

I had always heard about travelling abroad and it was so intriguing to me. I sat down and searched for companies and missions looking for volunteers, applied/researched a few, and then registered! Thousands of volunteer opportunities are available online at the community or international level. The process was very simple.

What made you decide to take on this opportunity?

I have always loved making an impact in the lives of others, cultural experiences, and trying new things. I have volunteered for many youth events in the GTA and worked different jobs. The opportunity to travel to another country and use what I have learned to make a larger impact was so exciting to me.

Tell me more about your experiences during the duration of the trip.

I honestly do not know where to start! During the trip, we were able to help children at local schools with literacy, reading, math, and more. We lived with locals and got to experience Peru in its beauty and flaws. Talking to children about their life stories and the locals about their culture was awesome. We tried new foods, dances, sports, activities, and more! The trip was the best 5 days of my life.

What was your favourite memory? Why?

I tried ATV riding for the first time! During some free time, we met with some locals to try this radical new activity. With new opportunities come a range of surprising and exciting experiences and this was just one of them. I would have never tried something like this as at home.

What would you tell any aspiring volunteers?

Cool opportunities are not out of anyone’s reach. Yes you! If this all seems super cool yet unattainable – you’re wrong. I am not saying you should get on a plane to Peru this month, rather, push yourself to your own limits and start doing SOMETHING, anything. As long as you are willing to try something new and say “yes”, opportunity will always be there for you. I definitely recommend getting volunteer experience locally because that is what helps me take on larger opportunity like this. Volunteering is not about having a big flashy impact, rather causing authentic in communities and the environment.

What previous volunteering experience did you have?

I would volunteer for local, Markham community events like Night it up, MYC (Markham Youth Council) council events, and retirement homes.

How did the trip change your general perspectives about community involvement and the world in general?

Every human is equal. No matter where you are from and what separates you from other, every human life has equal value. That’s why we all need to do our part in making the world a better place. Volunteering can have such a large impact on this. I will never forget the days I spent in Peru and I apply the perspectives to my daily school and personal life every day. Our personal successes do not mean anything if we don’t help others.

How did your parents let you do this on your own?

Trust me – I get it!!! Strict parents are a problem for me like everyone one else. How in the world would they let me go, ON MY OWN, to a FOREIGN country, DURING HIGH SCHOOL?! My parents came around and yours can too, if you take the right steps. Make a proper list of reasons you really want to go. In addition, tell them about all the details of the trip – who are you going with (I signed up with my best friend), which organization is taking you, what safety protocols will be in place? All these questions will help them reconsider. Make sure to address the issue calmly and objectively. Further, all the information will be available to you when you do your research so definitely use the source – the organization hosting the trip – for things like departure dates, flights, accommodation, medical insurance, travelling and more.

Follow Rebecca Zhong on Facebook and feel free to reach out to her: https://www.facebook.com/rebecca.zhong.10

I hope that you all can take away from this experience and use this perspective in your own life. Remember, the most important thing is to get started now.

Feel free to reach out to me regarding any topics of interest for future blogs!

Until next time, Rubaina Singla Chair, Change the World Markham

Stay connected with Change The World Markham: facebook.com/changetheworldmarkham Volunteermarkham.ca


Just a click away…..


Just in case you missed it……..our search on a few valuable resources! 

Click below for volunteer recognition research and awards, the recent Senate Recommendations for the charitable sector and the Canadian Code for Volunteer Involvement.





If you have any resources you feel could benefit our community please feel free to share!

“The Starting Point is Always Now” states Change the World Markham Youth Chair

My name is Rubaina and I am ecstatic to serve as the Chair of Change The World Markham CTWMarkham) for the 2019-2020 year. If you have not heard of CTWMarkham, we are a youth executive team under the Volunteer Markham. Basically, we handle all things volunteerism, from creating our own events, to promoting a wide variety of others’ in the community. More importantly, we want to make sure ALL youth in Markham are connected to meaningful opportunities and educated about community involvement.  We are building our team now and we want YOU! (No experience necessary)

High school can be VERY overwhelming. Suddenly, you are supposed to be involved in extracurriculars, take on leadership roles and gain community hours, all while trying to maintain a social life, good mental health, and keep up with academics. I couldn’t believe it. This is why this blog is something I wish I had throughout my high school years.

This blog is a part of CTWMarkham’s newest initiative to bring forward meaningful opportunities and volunteer subjects for students to read about. If you are worried about any of those things above, this is a MUST READ blog for you.

I will be writing on this blog every month. As a Grade 12 student at Markville Secondary School, I can totally relate to many things you may be interested in. Feel free to reach out to me at any time to discuss anything on Facebook or Linkedin(just search my name).

My Message to You

If you are reading this and you know what you love and have a passion for making a change – great. If you have YET TO FIND that one thing that you really just LOVE doing, stay tuned!  You might just find it here.  My goal is to get you “volinspired”!

I was the latter. I always knew I wanted to do SOMETHING but I never knew what this was or how I could find it. Moreover, I was afraid to approach new opportunities and always underestimated my abilities.  

The secret recipe to solving your “uninspiredness”? Trying new things. The minute you step out of your comfort zone and do something you’re afraid of, you begin to grow in ways you couldn’t imagine. Your opportunities start to grow as well.

Trying things is great; I myself participated in numerous clubs, volunteer events, and jobs. I didn’t like all of them, but at least I was gaining experience. Though you will not commit to everything you try, learn from each experience, build connections along the way, and then apply all these things to DO SOMETHING AMAZING. And trust me, you WILL find that thing.

Volunteering, specifically, is a truly unique and rewarding experience. Not only do you become a better person through learning how to help others, but you become a more well rounded and inquisitive learner. You can work, play sports, music, or study, but nothing compares to giving back to the community. Especially in a world where people are increasingly dialed in to their personal day-to-day, it is nice to step out of that bubble and help others. This is why I encourage you all to VOLUNTEER!

So, How Can You Start Volunteering?

My first time volunteering, in grade 9, began when I saw a posting on Facebook for a Halloween event “Spooktacular”. This was a short community event taking place closes by. I had no idea how volunteering worked, how I should go about it, and if I would be a good fit for the job.

However, I knew I needed to complete my community hours sooner or later! So, I grabbed a couple of friends, signed up, and before I knew it, I was having a blast setting up a haunted hours, face painting, and more! It was such a simple experience, but it gave me so much confidence. Not only did I learn to fill out that daunting volunteer form your high school guidance department gives you, but I met some great friends that I still talk to today. That one opportunity actually allowed me to gain a resume experience for future part time jobs and leadership opportunities.

Signing up for a small, short-term opportunity with your friends is an amazing way to ease into things and get your feet off the ground. I am still always on the lookout for any new opportunities, so do not be afraid to get out there and try new things – It is just a great learning experience, and tons of fun!

These are some suggestions to help you get started:

First Time Volunteers

  1. Volunteer Markham and CTWMarkham has tons of volunteer opportunities available on their database. As mentioned earlier, Volunteer Markham is completely dedicated to helping volunteers in Markham – so do not be afraid to direct any questions or concerns to them or to CTW. I totally wish I had known about this database earlier on.  Just click on the tab above!  (Or join me at CTW Markham!)
  2. MP, MPP, Election Campaigns are a great way to get started. Often, when the next election comes around (psttt, the current federal election campaign!) MP’s and MPP’s are searching for tons of volunteers to help them canvas. Do not hesitate to go onto their personal campaign websites by searching their name to sign up for volunteering. These application processes usually require nothing but some basic information.
  3. Community Events such as the Markham Expo, Taste of Asia, Fun fairs, Unionville Festival, Markham Fair and more. These are usually also single day events that you can easily sign up for with some friends. A simple visit to any community event’s website can help you find volunteer opportunities.

I Just Want to Jump In Now

  1. Change The World is looking for driven people to join our executive planning team, as well as volunteers for CTW events throughout the year. Message or email me and I will note you down as an interested volunteer.
  2. Food Drives and food centres are always on the lookout for volunteers, both for single days during peak seasons like winter, and on a weekly basis. Try checking out the websites of local and popular food banks to see volunteering opportunities. You could consider doing your own Food Drive for a worthy cause.
  3. Retirement Homes love teenagers who come in to spend some time in the homes. It can be an incredibly rewarding experience to work with the elderly. Check out the websites of the local Markham retirement homes to see if they need volunteers. If you have a skill or play an instrument, why not connect with them and share your skills.

Lastly, these are some extra opportunities and good links! Many of these organizations host great volunteer or community events. A great way to make sure you are not missing out is by staying connected through their social media.

Some of our event partners:

Really great youth volunteer clubs to look into:

In future posts, I will be discussing and promoting more specific opportunities and topics. Please feel free to message me with any specific volunteer ideas you have, requests for future blog posts, or highlighting some cool volunteering that’s going on in Markham and I would be more than happy to write about them. I look forward to helping you achieve your volunteering goals for the year.

Until next time,

Rubaina Singla

Chair, Change the World Markham

Stay connected with Change The World Markham: