I can think of no better time than today, International Volunteer Day, to tell you about a recent experience with a group of women who dedicated a significant amount of their time and energy to raise awareness and money to help address homelessness in HRM.
Fight for Change was an initiative that saw nine women step way out of their comfort zone by committing to training for three months with professional boxing coaches and raising money for Shelter Nova Scotia, a not-for-profit organization that runs several homeless shelters and supportive housing units. Their training culminated with a boxing event at Palookas Gym last Thursday. To say excitement was in the air is an understatement. These women poured their hearts and souls into this event, and seeing the pride and excitement on the faces of family members, friends and community supporters was priceless.
At the conclusion of the matches, Bill Pratt, Executive Director of Shelter Nova Scotia, thanked the boxers for their efforts and the 200 supporters for attending. Before calling it a night, Bill delivered what I thought was the most powerful message of the night. He invited everyone in attendance to clap in unison one time for each person who would spend the night in a Shelter Nova Scotia shelter that night. By the time we hit 100 claps there was hardly a dry eye in the house, including mine.
These women are to be commended for volunteering so much of their time and effort to take on a real problem in our community. I’m proud of each and every one of them for what they did, and they should be proud of themselves. The participants I had the honour of speaking with afterward told me it was an empowering experience and they felt they got as much out of it as they put in.
I’m sure you can guess who won. Really, everyone walked away a winner – the boxers for transforming themselves over the three months and giving so much to our community, the people in attendance for their new appreciation of the homelessness issue in HRM and being able to contribute to solutions, and most of all, the clients of the shelters who will have enhanced services as a result of the efforts of these nine amazing women.
Visit http://tinyurl.com/7oprv5p to meet the boxers and learn more about Fight for Change.
This is but one example of volunteerism in HRM and recognizing our volunteers is so important, considering it’s really the only pay they receive. You can help recognize the efforts of a volunteer by nominating them for an HRM Volunteer Award before December 16. All you have to do is visit http://www.halifax.ca/volunteerservices/awards/index.html and take ten minutes of your time to tell them about a volunteer. I encourage you to get involved in your community; it’s a rewarding way to spend your time. For a list of volunteer opportunities in HRM visit http://www.halifax.ca/volunteerservices/VolunteerOppotunities.html.
I’m always looking for new ways to get people involved. What are some ways you volunteer in your community?