Councillor Reid McAlpine and Volunteer Markham working Behind the Scenes on Youth Engagement Funding        #VMBehindTheScenes

Councillor Reid McAlpine, member of the Volunteer Markham Campaign Cabinet, is working behind the scenes to help build sustainable funding to support Youth Volunteerism in Markham.  As an active committee member, he understands the value that youth volunteers bring to our communities at all levels.

At Volunteer Markham, youth profiles have almost tripled in our database this school year.  Youth volunteer seekers are eagerly looking for meaningful opportunities to give back to their community and earn their community engagement hours.

Volunteer Markham is partnered with high schools in the City of Markham and prior to the pandemic, had more than 2,400 students completing over 10,000 volunteer hours during their campaign period.

Change the World (CTW) Markham is the open and inclusive youth division under Volunteer Markham and comprises high school students working virtually to develop educational materials on the importance of volunteering, create a social marketing presence to motivate youth, assist their peers in securing volunteer opportunities and deliver impactful initiatives to meet community needs.  

Be sure to visit the CTW Markham page at volunteermarkham.ca and stay connected to us through our social media, newsletters and regular visits online to watch the impact youth are making!  To learn more about youth volunteering or to join this team reach email: hello@volunteermarkham.ca

We are fortunate to have Councillor McAlpine as an instrumental part of growing volunteerism in Markham.  Besides his role as a City Councillor for Unionville Ward 3, he is a Champion for Volunteers!  

Cheers to all volunteer!




Bringing a voice to youth and telling their stories; Thivya, founder of YouSpoken shares her initiative.  “If youth don’t tell their stories, who will?”

 “Happy New Year to all!  We are beyond thrilled to announce the start of recruitment for YouSpoken.  YouSpoken is a  youth-oriented group focused on sharing the stories of young people.  Focusing on the reconciliation of youth from traumatic and challenging paths, we build connections to support a network of trust and movement in publicizing the voices and stories of young people.  We are looking for young people to come on board and join the team.  YouSpoken values passion over experience when building an inclusive space for making a difference in the lives of people just like us.  Whether your interests lie in marketing, digital content creation, story-telling, videography or general volunteerism, please do not hesitate to sign up or ask questions.  Thank you and we look forward to our journey in 2022!” Thivya


YouSpoken is a space to share and learn.  “If youth don’t tell their stories, who will?”

Thivya has her own story and can share her challenges in bringing YouSpoken to life.  Given her young age, Thivya was met with setbacks and struggles to gain credibility and trust.  Through her dedication, hard work and perseverance she gained strong support from funders, agencies and most importantly youth themselves.  This journey has only begun.  Stay tuned!


#WeSeeYou #TogetherWeCan #VMBehindTheScenes #BuildBackBetter #VolunteersChangeLives #VMCaughtinAction


TOGETHER WE CAN!  Volunteer Markham is excited to support Student Helpers!  This team of volunteers are eager to help seniors with their IT challenges, remotely, FOR FREE, across North America!

Meet Matt from Student Helpers, a technology support hotline for seniors.  

Matt volunteers with over 100 eager Student Helpers to provide a free hotline for seniors to call when they have day-to-day technology questions. They are a student-run non-profit initiative that is ready to answer the phone and help seniors at any time.

Matt, a recent graduate from the University of Guelph, is most proud of his accomplishment of starting a business while he was in school and winning a deal on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. He is active in the startup community and loves helping others.   Matt is joined by many warm and passionate students who want to help!

#WeSeeYou #TogetherWeCan #VMBehindTheScenes #BuildBackBetter #VolunteersChangeLives #VMCaughtinAction

With a quick visit to Studenthelpers.ca you will easily understand their mission.

“Everyone wants to be able to help seniors but we cannot always be there for our parents and grandparents”.  This team is set up to be an extra support to seniors at anytime.  Not only do they help directly support seniors, they will readily help organizations and people working with them as well.

Who hasn’t had challenges with a Zoom call, setting up a Facebook Account, retrieving a password?

Simply call their toll free line at 1-833-989-TALK (8255) and they will connect you with a vetted volunteer who can quickly and remotely assist you.

Call to action: Student Helpers is looking to partner with our communities!  If you are connected to seniors at a community centre, in a nonprofit or charity organization or a seniors residence, reach out to them today.

Email at: hello@studenthelpers.ca

Hotline: 1-833-989-TALK(8255)

General Inquiries:  416-887-7822


TOGETHER WE CAN!  Partners across York Region join together to pave a path for  newcomers to enjoy and gain Canadian Experiences.

York Region Local Immigration Partnership is a team of organizations and people addressing the needs and identifying the gaps in services and opportunities for newcomers.

The York Region Newcomer Guide (January 2021) highlights the diversity celebrated across York Region. “More than 51,000 recent immigrants to Canada live in York Region (immigrants who arrived in Canada between 2011 and 2016) and 47% of all residents were born outside of Canada

People from all over the world live here. Our residents speak more than 120 different languages and come from 230 distinct ethnic origins.”

#WeSeeYou #TogetherWeCan

Our most recent discussion revolved around the various programs, services and initiatives that are currently available for newcomers here in York Region and how to further help newcomers gain Canadian experiences.  

The team identified a need to create friendly, relatable language that is easily understood by newcomers, how volunteerism can help root newcomers in their communities and gain Canadian experiences and how to best share this information to newcomers.

Opportunities presented included sharing best practices, cross promoting programs and services offered and making strong connections to further enhance newcomer supports.


Our Community Behind the Scenes
with Volunteer Canada and the Canadian Volunteer Centre Network.

Volunteer Markham is an active and engaged member of Volunteer Canada.  “Volunteer Canada works in partnership with the Canadian Volunteer Centre Network, which includes local volunteer centres and provincial associations of volunteer centres, to strengthen volunteering and citizen engagement. Beyond working in their own communities, volunteer centres recognize that they can have a greater impact as a larger network of more than 200 volunteer centres and provincial/territorial associations of volunteer centres. The Canadian Volunteer Centre Network strengthens volunteer centres, individually and collectively, to better promote volunteering, provide leadership on volunteer engagement and make connections in their own communities and across Canada. Establishing a common voice and building a cohesive knowledge base strengthens volunteering and increases the impact of volunteer centres locally, provincially and nationally. “

During our November meeting the Volunteer Centre’s shared resources, best practices, trends and concerns in their communities.  The main discussions revolved around youth engagement as well as vaccination policies and trends.  Opportunities for additional learnings and upcoming events and webinars were highlighted.  

Leaving this months meeting sparked the idea of exploring the creation of a National Youth Volunteer Network, creating a ‘micro volunteering’ campaign and updating our Events Calendar to share some valuable webinars to our members.  So stay tuned on how these may be part of our engagement work in the New Year.

We are all looking forward to celebrating across the nation International Volunteer Day (#IVD) on December 5th.

#Togetherwecan #BuildBackBetter #WeSeeYou #VMBehindTheScenes

#BuildBackBetter with the Ontario Volunteer Centre Network

We are grateful for Ontario’s 5.08 million volunteers!  As part of the network of Volunteer Centres here in Ontario, we are advocating and celebrating this season.  During the Thanksgiving Holiday we shared our gratitude for the 3.3 million volunteer seekers and the 4,300 nonprofits we engaged with and we are not stopping here!  Help us spread the word, read our Open Letter here, and let’s celebrate:

November 5th – National Volunteer Managers Day

December 5th – International Volunteer Day (IVD)


Behind the Scenes Journey to Community Recovery through Volunteerism

Our Community Behind the Scenes
with The Ontario Volunteer Centre Network (OVCN)

Volunteer Markham proudly represents York Region on the OVCN.  We join our Volunteer Centre partners across Ontario as seen here to build a stronger, caring community through volunteerism.  This past Thanksgiving, we worked together in publishing a co-authored, open letter to acknowledge the essential and ongoing contributions of volunteer managers and our province’s 5.08 million volunteers.  Read excerpts from this letter below:

“The reality is that the pandemic has impacted the volunteer infrastructure in Ontario.  To recover from COVID-19, we need to invest in people.  Ontario volunteers contribute $2.07B to Canada’s GDP as volunteerism plays a critical role in delivering essential programs, building personal opportunity (skills and employment) and fostering inclusion”

“You may be surprised to know that 1 in 2 organizations have laid-off or permanently re-deployed their volunteer leaders.  This trend has significantly disrupted volunteer engagement across Ontario as volunteer demand outstrips the supply of available positions.”


“Over the past 18 months OVCN members have build connections with 4,300 nonprofits and 3.3 million volunteer seekers from every demographic and we’re here to work with community partners and the provincial government to ensure we harness the Ontario Spirit as we #BuildBackBetter because every Ontarian benefits from the contribution of volunteers.”


Across Ontario and on behalf of Volunteer Markham and the OVCN, we are grateful for:  Ontario’s 5.08 million volunteers.  We are here for you!  #VolunteerYorkRegion #VolunteerMarkham #VolunteerCentres #StrongerTogether #BuildBackBetter

Behind the Scenes Journey to Community Recovery through Volunteerism

Our Community Behind the Scenes
The Cross Cultural Community Services Association -Community Connections Team

As a Volunteer Centre servicing the broader York Region, our goal is to to connect volunteers to organizations that need them.  In doing so, our doors have remained open! We work through a team of passionate volunteers reaching out to engage our community and build bridges to help us all recover from the pandemic.  Behind the scenes there is a great deal of effort to meet the needs in our community and ensure that those that need us know we are here.

Introducing Alison Cheng and Rizette Catarroja, working with the Community Connections team at TCCSA  focused on Youth.

Our mission is to assist newcomers in adapting to Canadian life in their neighbourhood and to provide support to Canadians in building a stronger community. We offer settlement services such as one-on-one counseling and workshops, as well as education and language training to enhance English literacy skills.” shared Rizette.

We recently met to brainstorm on how we could work together given our aligned mission and vision as it relates to youth.  The conversation was engaging and exciting as we explored the potential of various initiatives to get youth engaged.  A second meeting was planned.


TCCSA has a strong, dedicated team and exciting programs to offer youth.  Each month they have a calendar of their programs (see below).  They are also building more opportunities for youth.

Given Volunteer Markham has an established team of youth leaders on their “Change the World” youth platform and are focused on engaging more newcomer youth;  the opportunity to work together couldn’t have happened at a better time.

Our community is highly supportive of our youth and our youth are wanting to get engaged.  With the  combined experiences and expertise of both Volunteer Markham and TCCSA we are excited to explore how best to meet this need.   

Stay tuned and watch out for our collaborative work to engage youth.

To learn more about TCCSA check out their website and social media links: Instagram handle: @tccsa.ontario and Facebook handle: @tccsa.on.ca

Together we can make a difference.   

Join Team VM!

Volunteer Markham Goes for Gold!

Volunteer Markham is an official charity partner for the Scotiabank Marathon

This October, we go for GOLD and we want you on our team! During the month of October, TEAM VM will be meeting personal goals and raising money to support the over 300 organizational members and all volunteers in our community. If you are reading this, this is YOU!

Join us, share the event with your family and friends, raise funds and let’s go for GOLD!

You can register for this event, set your own personal goal and raise money for Volunteer Markham and your community and/or you could host a fundraiser, pledge our team or donate to show your support.

Every single dollar raised makes an impact! Why not set your goal for Volunteer Hours!!!

You can follow this link to register to the event

You can follow this link to donate to Volunteer Markham

If you would like to partner with us and have your own ideas, email mirja.raita@volunteermarkham.ca

Enjoy our promo video:  Watch Now

Behind the Scenes Journey to Community Recovery through Volunteerism

Our Community Behind the Scenes
The Shoebox Project

As a Volunteer Centre servicing the broader York Region, our goal is to to connect volunteers to organizations that need them.  In doing so, our doors have remained open! We work through a team of passionate volunteers reaching out to engage our community and build bridges to help us all recover from the pandemic.  Behind the scenes there is a great deal of effort to meet the needs in our community and ensure that those that need us know we are here.

This week we met with Karen Robertson Paget and Lesley Hendry from the Shoebox Project.

It’s hard to think that it is already time to start planning for the holidays.  It takes a lot of work “behind the scenes” to help meet the needs in our community as the weather gets more challenging, community needs increase and the holiday season approaches.

During the holiday season and continuing year round, the Shoebox project aims to have decorated Shoeboxes filled with $50 worth of gifts and essentials that any woman might enjoy, and include a warm greeting or message of support.  The volunteers distribute these gifts to local women’s shelters and community agencies serving women impacted by homelessness across Canada (and right here in York Region).  The Shoebox Project has been helping women for over 10 years and they cannot do this without our support!

Take a minute to watch this meaningful video.



The Shoebox Project for Women is a registered charity that collects and distributes gift-filled Shoeboxes to local women impacted by homelessness across Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

They aim to foster safe, supportive and inclusive communities by facilitating compassionate gestures of kindness between our supporters and local women experiencing homelessness.

Here in York Region, we need strong, compassionate Volunteer Leaders to take on the impactful role of Local Chapter Coordinator.

Together we can make a difference.   Volunteer Markham is reaching out to members that align with this need,  creating posts and writing articles to help raise awareness of this initiative and connecting directly with individuals that may be able to help us identify those strong leaders in our community that will lead us all in helping women who may need it the most at this time.  Our Youth Team (CTW Markham) is also ready to help and can assist in creating and packaging shoeboxes.

Whether you donate a Shoebox virtually or in-person, it is more than just a gift. It is a rare and powerful reminder that we all matter.  

Together We Can

To volunteer as a Local Chapter Coordinator click here 

To learn more about the project click to email Karen

To chat with Volunteer Markham click to email Mirja