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Celebrating National Volunteer Week 2017

From events to stewardship, our volunteers do it all! Find out more about Evergreen's volunteers and why they spend their free time with us.

 Image: Mike Derblich
Top image caption: Our volunteers help us in so many different ways, from helping run bike workshops to lending a hand at events/Mike Derblich ‐ Image: Mike Derblich

Published on April 20, 2017

At Evergreen, you will find volunteers supporting everything that we do. From our Board of Directors to almost every program, activity and community event, volunteers are the driving force that keep us going. These dedicated folks bring diverse skill sets, enthusiasm and a strong sense of passion to the Evergreen team.

In honour of National Volunteer Week 2017, let’s take a moment to celebrate our incredible volunteers that join us each day to inspire action to green cities. 

Meet a few of our volunteers that capture the essence of this team and their roles with us here at Evergreen!

Christopher Tsuji

Christopher Tsuji has volunteered with Evergreen and the Brick Works since September 2016.

Christopher has been an Evergreen Brick Works volunteer since September 2016, supporting the Farmers Market, Winter Village and the Visiting Schools program as an Outdoor Teaching Assistant.

Why do you volunteer?

I had visited here when I was younger and now as a Masters student, I find it a fun activity when I can give back. It’s been rewarding to engage in a range of activities and get to know new people and new things all the time. The appreciation from parents and teachers for helping engage students in hands-on learning is especially rewarding.

How does volunteering impact the community and yourself? 

With busy days like the Farmers Market and Winter Village, I really see how volunteers can help extend what can be done and support staff who are pulled in so many different directions.  I love the community I’ve found down in the valley and have certainly built my people skills by helping on the front lines.

Joseph Tanel

Since 2014, Joseph has been a Community Greening Volunteer Leader in York Region, partnering with staff to run successful community greening events in the area.

Why do you volunteer? 

I really care about the environment and bringing communities together to do something. This has been a great way to give back and I love meeting new people and helping them at the events. 

How does volunteering impact the community and yourself?

It’s amazing how many people are interested — they get exercise, new experiences and relationships. Long-term, I can see what we’ve planted is establishing and increasing natural diversity. For the community members, the kids have something memorable they can come back to. I’ve definitely grown my leadership skills too.

Paula Hughes

Paula Hughes is a Don River Valley Park park advocate.

Paula has been one of our committed Park Advocates for the Don River Valley Park since spring 2016.

Why do you volunteer?

As a recent transplant from New York, I stumbled on the spectacular Don ravine by accident and then found out I could get involved. I wanted to help provide equal access to Toronto’s amazing ravines system, this amazing “backyard” in the city.

How does volunteering impact the community and yourself?

We’re getting so many new people aware and interested in the Park, which is for everyone and will make Toronto and even better city. It’s been fantastic to work with so many diverse people and be inspired by the thought leaders who are part of this project.

John Klingenberg

John Klingenberg is an Active Living volunteer at Evergreen Brick Works.

An Active Living volunteer at Evergreen Brick Works since March 2012, John supports Bike Works in the summer, skating in the winter and also serves on the Bike Works Advisory Committee.

Why do you volunteer?

I get to do what I enjoy – playing around with bikes and helping people.  I do it for the joy, the fun and the reward.  I come down as much as I can and love it all.

How does volunteering impact the community and yourself?

There’s nothing nicer than a little kid who gives you a high-five when they learn something new like riding a bike or skating, or when they come back the next year asking for you!  I get to see them progress as kids and adults learn and build confidence as I teach and mentor. For me, I’ve grown in my comfort interacting with people and patience in helping others learn. 

Nicola Parr

Nicola Parr, a 100in1Day Vancouver volunteer.

Nicola Parr is a Workshop Facilitation volunteer for 100In1Day.

Why do you volunteer?

I like how 100in1Day encourages people to step outside of their comfort zone and change how they interact with their communities. I was also excited to meet new people and learn new skills.

How does volunteering impact the community and yourself?

I was so inspired by how 100In1Day brought the community together, and so I was inspired, i hosted my own ‘urban intervention’ on June 4, organizing a community breakfast for my condo building!

Debbie Ritskses

Debbie Ritskses is a volunteer at Evergreen's Hamilton storefront.

Debbie Ritskses has volunteered at our Hamilton storefront since 2015.

Why do you volunteer?

I like giving back to my community and helping out. I met Jay from Evergreen at a Hamilton community planning meeting and we just started chatting. I starting dropping by the storefront and it looked like they needed help so here I am! 

How does volunteering impact the community and yourself?

The storefront has a huge impact and has been a great place for the community to come together, to host events and to meet new people.  I’ve enjoyed getting to know the different people involved and have built some great new friendships, and feel more a part of my community.

Grace Lowe

Grace Lowe is a volunteer at Evergreen Brick Works' Children's Garden.

Grace Lowe has volunteered as a Children’s Garden ‘Nature Play’ Animator since fall of 2016.

Why do you volunteer?

I really wanted to work with kids on the weekends so this was a good fit for me to help in the Children’s Garden at Evergreen Brick Works.  I’ve learned to do my best, be patient and flexible and to ask for help rather than giving up, like with a recent campfire I was trying to start with a group of kids.

How does volunteering impact the community and yourself?

I see this program as really important, providing kids with an opportunity to be outside and to connect with nature, not always easy in Toronto.  The kids walk away with new skills like building a fire or cooking with local food, new friends and a deeper connection to the environment.