Volunteering Weaves Us Together
In August 2022, Mother and Daughter duo, Monica and Olivia were looking for volunteer opportunities in Kitchener-Waterloo. They noticed a volunteer advertisement on the City of Waterloo website and immediately contacted Kirsten, a Program Co-ordinator, to learn more about volunteering with Strong Start® Charitable Organization. Since that day, Monica and Olivia have been consistent volunteers at Strong Start’s National Program Deployment Centre on Kumpf Drive in Waterloo. Olivia was diagnosed as neurodivergent early on in life and it was challenging for Monica to find inclusive volunteer opportunities that provided Olivia experience to give back to the community, camaraderie, and mentorship.
Together, they volunteer for four hours, twice a week assembling games and activities. Monica and Olivia’s gift of time as materials assembly volunteers supports all three Strong Start programs: Letters, Sounds and Words™, Get Ready for School™ and Baby Connections®. “When you volunteer with Strong Start, you see firsthand the impact your work is having directly on the community, it has ignited a passion in us to expand our volunteering with other non-profit organizations as well. Strong Start is a very inclusive place to volunteer, it is nice to be open and share challenges you may have, the team is always very accommodating and empowering. Olivia is always asking when she can come back to Strong Start and help more. The positive, noticeable changes we’ve seen in her since starting to volunteer are consistent throughout the week, Olivia now would like to start reading to children because of this experience; we couldn’t be happier!” Says Monica, Olivia’s mom. When we asked Olivia what she likes best about volunteering with Strong Start she enthusiastically said “I feel confident when I am there, I know what I am doing is making a difference and I am very proud of that. The team makes sure I have everything I need so that I can do my best to help children in the community!”
Monica and Olivia are shining examples of the positive impacts that volunteering has on people and the community. We are proud to have them as volunteers on our team. Thank you, Monica, and Olivia, for everything you do!