FREE access to ACHIEVE ONTARIO (a Provincial skills-based Volunteer Recognition Program for organizations) until December 2020 as our way of uplifting volunteers and supporting your organization.

Volunteer Markham, Volunteer Toronto and Volunteer MBC have joined forces to support volunteerism during COVID-19. Stay tuned for the many services that will become available to all volunteers and volunteer organizations.

Right now, we are thrilled to offer Markham Organizations access to ACHIEVE Ontario as well as inviting you to join in COVID-19 ACHIEVE Skills-Based Volunteer Recognition training offered by Volunteer MBC.

COVID-19: Achieve Skills-Based Volunteer Recognition

Date: Thursday, May 28, 2020
Time: 12PM – 1PM

I know the ups and downs of COVID-19 are concerning. 

Here’s the good news: Our community is coming together in a big way. Though you might hear about some difficulties, I can tell you the good does outweigh the bad. People from all corners of the GTA are helping out.

When volunteers are needed en masse, that’s sometimes called surge volunteering. Our community isn’t new to that idea. Today, it’s an emergency situation, but back in 2015 there was also a surge, for the Pan-Am/Para Pan-Am Games. Three things came out of that big event: 128 Canadian gold medals, Pachi the Porcupine (remember him?!), and a new way to recognize the contributions of volunteers: Achieve Ontario

Achieve is a skills-based volunteer recognition system and we’re going to show you how to use it to your advantage and for the benefit of volunteers. Volunteerism is still changing. We need to adapt to keep our community engaged and prosperous as they contribute their time and skills. We need to foster a culture of volunteerism and ensure that those efforts are recognized. Let’s reframe COVID-19 so it’s not a story only of hardship, but one where volunteers are known as the heartbeat of our community, and make sure that after this crisis passes that that fact is not forgotten.
Vers·us COVID-19: Achieve Skills-Based Volunteer RecognitionDate: Thursday, May 28, 2020
Time: 12PM – 1PM
Add this to my calendar!
+1 437-703-5248 Conference ID: 521 129 021#
Click here at 12PM on Thursday to join the discussion!

“Why Volunteer?” Contest Winners Announced

Photo of Volunteer Markham Contest Winners

Community Members Explain Why They Volunteer

Photos of Volunteer Markham "What's Your Story?" Contest Winners
(Left to Right) Claire Lin, Xin Yi Chen, and Shanta Sunderson were three of the winners selected from Volunteer Markham’s “What’s Your Story?” contest.

Last month, Canadians across the country celebrated National Volunteer Week (April 19 – 25, 2020). As part of the festivities, Volunteer Markham wanted to hear stories about local volunteers. Community members from across Markham submitted their entries for “Why Volunteer?” – a contest campaign which helped us understand why many people are volunteering in Markham. 

We asked local residents and community members to submit a short blurb sharing their reason for why they volunteer. After compiling our entries, we are pleased to announce the four winners of the “Why Volunteer?” campaign

Volunteer Markham would like to congratulate our winners:

  • Claire Lin 
  • Shanta Sunderson 
  • Sruti Prabakaran 
  • Xin Yi Chen 

After careful consideration, Volunteer Markham board members who reviewed all the submissions were able to determine the winners. While it was difficult to choose the top four, Volunteer Markham sincerely thanks everyone who submitted a contest entry. The stories from our local volunteers truly remind us all why volunteering is so vital for our community. 

“I volunteer to inspire others to become creative and bright leaders who will take on opportunities to lead future generations and carry on traditions in the community,” says contest winner Claire Lin. “I believe everyone has the capacity to learn and develop a positive mindset along their journey as a volunteer for the City of Markham.” 

Winners have since received instructions on how to claim their prize: a gift card worth $50 OR a $50 donation to a charity of their choice. Stay tuned to the Volunteer Markham website and social media as we look forward to highlighting our four winners in the near future. 

“Thank you to all volunteers who give with their hearts! Volunteerism, at all levels and with its

many faces, is the foundation of a caring community,” says Mirja Raita, Executive Director of Volunteer Markham. “Volunteer Markham is here and we are working hard at ensuring that residents will be able to continue to give, help and support our community members safely and responsibly. We stand with our community today and always, and we are all making a difference together!”

Volunteer Markham Wants to Know Why Residents Give Back to Their Community with New Contest

Story Contest
Story Contest

(MARKHAM, ONTARIO)​ – Given recent events around COVID-19, an increasing number of volunteers are really stepping in to help. With National Volunteer Week coming up (April 19-25, 2020), Volunteer Markham has just launched a brand-new contest campaign; Why Volunteer?

The goal of this campaign is to highlight the many people who are volunteering throughout the community.

We are asking our local residents and community members to submit no more than 200 words sharing their reasons as to why they give back. Submissions will be divided into three categories:

1. Fundraising
2. Community Development
3. Personal Growth

We want to know what makes someone jump in and help.

“How do we best recognize the many people that give of their time when the community is in a State of Emergency? Volunteer Markham wholeheartedly is inspired by the actions of others. As National Volunteer Week approaches us we want to collect and share those stories of inspiration in the hopes that it brings an even stronger feeling of community and togetherness.

Please join us in saying “thank you” and highlighting those special volunteers that have been supporting their communities all year and to those volunteers that have stepped up for the first time now when they were needed!

In light of what’s going on in our city, please take a moment to share your story or the story of someone you know, and spread the impact of their actions.” says Mirja Raita, Executive Director with Volunteer Markham. Stay safe and stay connected!

Contest Highlights

  • Final submission deadline date: April 25, 2020 200-word submission, with optional photos, submitted at ​
  • Four winners to be announced on May 6, 2020
  • Winners will be selected by Volunteer Markham
  • Prizes: a gift card worth $50 OR a $50 donation to a charity of your choice
  • Winners to be profiled on our website after the contest About Volunteer Markham Volunteer Markham helps build a stronger, more thoughtful community through innovative programs that inspire, inform, and connect volunteers with the organizations that need them. Based in the Markham Civic Centre, we are committed to growing volunteering in Markham by inspiring citizens and connecting the community.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Julie Bannerjea
Chair, Marketing Committee
Volunteer Markham


Mirja Raita
Executive Director
Volunteer Markham


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 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!

National COVID-19 Volunteer Recruitment Campaign – We need you!

The Government of Canada is working with provincial and territorial governments to respond to COVID-19. They are seeking volunteers to help in the following areas: 

1. Case tracking and contact tracing;
2. Health system surge capacity;
3. Case data collection and reporting.

For more information please click on:

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

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 .  For more information click on

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.

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 

Markham Stouffville Hospital: Urgently needs Personal Protective Equipment . Click 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 for various ways of giving or email

Nanny Angel Network: Volunteers Needed. Volunteer support has been moved to a virtual opportunity to help mothers with cancer and their children. Email: 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   Please email

Yellow Brick House: Emergency Shelter is remaining operational as an essential service. Please visit 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

You can donate blood. Learn more at

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

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

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.


5 Things to Consider Before Volunteering

A group of friends take a selfie while volunteering.
Finding the volunteer position that’s right for you is essential. Volunteer Markham makes it easy!

Volunteering for the first time can be a difficult. While there are many volunteer opportunities available, choosing the right opportunity is one of the initial challenges faced by every volunteer. Of course, finding a volunteer position can be as simple as browsing available positions the Volunteer Markham website. However, first-time volunteers should consider a few things before embarking on this exciting path. Here are five things every aspiring volunteer should consider before submitting an application.

Why am I volunteering?

Everyone has their own reasons for volunteering. Whether you are a high school student looking to fulfil 40 hours of community service or a retiree looking for meaningful ways to spend time. There’s no wrong reasoning for why someone should volunteer. When you identify why you want to volunteer, then you will be able to set more solid volunteering goals.

Setting goals for volunteering will help you narrow down which volunteer opportunities you want to pursue. Some examples of goals can include: making new friends, learning a language or developing new and desired skills. Target your volunteer search around opportunities which can help move you towards your goals.

What are my strengths and weaknesses?

Consider your level of comfort when interacting with others. Do you enjoy working with other people? Or are you more of a solo player? Understanding your own personality is important when deciding which volunteer opportunities to apply for. An extravert might be great at giving information and greeting guests, while an introvert might be more suited for organizing and setting up venues.

At the same time, volunteering is a great way for you to build confidence and step out of your comfort zones. Volunteering often provides a low-stress environment to improve on your personal weaknesses. Take advantage of these opportunities!

How much time do I have?

A person who works a full-time job and a student who is relaxing in front of the TV during summer vacation drastically differ in the amount of free time they have. Consider your current situation. Are you a student? Does your job take up most of your time? Do you have preexisting family commitments? Some volunteer opportunities require scheduled commitments – whether that be once a week or month. For those of you more strapped for time, consider volunteering for specific events which don’t require commitment after the event’s conclusion.

Will this experience help me in the future?

While volunteering may seem all about giving, there are many ways in which you can benefit from contributing your time. While volunteers shouldn’t expect to receive tangible things as rewards, giving back to your community could be a great way to opening more doors in the future.

For example, an aspiring social worker may spend some time volunteering at a food bank. This volunteer will be getting firsthand experience in their desired field. It will also be a great opportunity for the volunteer to network with people in the social work industry. The volunteer may also be able to get a reference letter from the supervisor if their work is exceptional. Make sure to clearly ask if your volunteer supervisor or company is comfortable with providing reference letters for their volunteers. Don’t be afraid to ask if you are unsure! 

What causes are important to you?

Knowing this could drastically make your quest to volunteering a lot simpler. Think about what you are passionate about – chances are there is an organization out there who fits your target. When your work actively helps something you are passionate about, it will make the task seem a lot more rewarding (and enjoyable).  

Take some time to consider these ideas before volunteering. When you are ready, feel free to check out the current volunteer opportunities by clicking here. There are volunteer opportunities out there for everyone.

Happy volunteering!

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.  

5 Reasons Why You Should Volunteer in 2020

With the holiday spirit still lingering in the air, 2020 is shaping up to be a perfect year for volunteering. Perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to make more friends, help others, or get more involved in the community. Volunteering is the perfect opportunity for you to stick to those resolutions.

With the holiday spirit still lingering in the air, 2020 is shaping up to be a perfect year for volunteering. Perhaps your New Year’s resolution is to make more friends, help others, or get more involved in the community. Volunteering is the perfect opportunity for you to stick to those resolutions.

Let’s take a look at some common New Year’s resolutions, and how volunteering can help you achieve them.

I want to make more friends

Volunteering is one of the best ways to make new friends and build connections. Working together with other volunteers allows you to bond over a shared experience. As a volunteer, you will be working with other volunteers who may share your similar interests and aspirations. For those who are new to Markham, volunteering is a great way to introduce yourself to the community and meet new people.

I want to be more confident

As a volunteer who is positively impacting the Markham community, it’s natural to feel a sense of accomplishment. Volunteers may gain a sense of pride and boosted self-esteem after a rewarding day of helping others. By making yourself available to volunteer opportunities, you are making it known that you want to be a helpful member of the community. This increased sense of confidence will surely help you for your future goals in 2020 and beyond!

I want to get healthier

Modern society has resulted in more people moving less. Whether you are working at a desk all day or studying at the library, people have generally become less active. While not all volunteer positions are physically demanding, the extra steps or tasks might just be what you need to get moving again. Older adults who find themselves moving less would greatly benefit from volunteering (although volunteering is right for any age).

I want a better job

It seems like we live in a world where even entry-level positions require previous experience. Those looking to break into a new or different career field should consider volunteering in order to get this valuable industry experience and build networks. More generally, volunteering can help bolster your resume with several transferable skills which may include: teamwork, time management, and organization.

I want to have more fun!

2019 was fun, but you want to take 2020 to the next level. Volunteering is a great way to try something new and change up your routine. Finding that perfect volunteer opportunity can be an enlightening moment. There are many benefits for volunteering, but at the end of the day, you wouldn’t be volunteering unless it was something you really wanted to do – something that you thought was fun!

Happy 2020, and happy volunteering!

Where should I go?

If you’re ready to start volunteering, but don’t know where to begin, find your next volunteer opportunity with Volunteer Markham. VM makes getting involved with your community a lot easier. Head over to our current listings and find the perfect placement today.

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: