Need for speed helps volunteers find a perfect match

Diane Roussin signed up for a seemingly monumental task last Saturday.

  • Sep. 13, 2011 6:00 a.m.

Diane Roussin signed up for a seemingly monumental task last Saturday.

She had to meet with representatives from six different organizations in the community who were actively seeking volunteers.

She had to learn each organization’s values and decide whether or not they aligned with her own.

She then had to debate whether or not she would be willing to lend her valuable time and effort to any of the nonprofit causes.

And she had less than 30 minutes to do it.

For the second straight year, the Okanagan Volunteer Opportunities Fair featured Volunteer Speed Matching: A quick way for potential volunteers to get basic information on a variety of nonprofit organizations.

With a similar setup to speed dating, Volunteer Speed Matching gave organizations and willing volunteers four minutes to feel each other out and decide whether or not they were a suitable match for each other.

Roussin, who moved to Kelowna in April, saw the challenge as an opportunity to immerse herself in a new community.

“I was involved with volunteer work in Vancouver; I know how enriching it is to be a volunteer,” said Roussin.

“I’m using this for that reason, but also for the selfish reason of getting to know Kelowna, getting to know the people here and being a part of the community. That’s what makes you feel at home.”

Roussin was initially interested in joining an organization that she had experience with; however, she was also open to the possibility of trying something new.

“I wanted to look up the organizations that I had previously been involved in and see if I still wanted to go that way or if I wanted to go a different way.

“I’m trying to decide if some of the people that I met today are (involved with) the type of work that I’m interested in doing.”

Roussin may have found a match during her sixth and final speed interview with Hands in Service.

“If an organization has worked to discover the needs of the community and found out where the holes are in the service that the government gives, I think that’s a very interesting service to get involved in.”

Four minutes wasn’t enough time for Roussin to fully commit; however, she plans on doing more online research. This was an aspect that she found particularly useful about Volunteer Speed Matching.

“Another positive thing about today is that everybody had a web site. So, if they did pique your interest even slightly, you can go to the web. The ability to get more information on the ones you might be interested in is very good.”

Chanine Carr, a volunteer MC of the Okanagan Volunteer Opportunities Fair, said that the purpose of speed matching is to create interest and encourage further research.

“This is just a four minute snapshot to see if it might work, then you can go get more information,” said Carr.

Roussin hopes that she will be too busy volunteering to attend this event again next year, but she insisted that she will spread the word.

“I would certainly recommend it to someone else. Putting yourself out there is a good step for a lot of people.”



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