Honouring Interval House Volunteers this National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week 2015

This week, April 12-18, we mark the 74th year of National Volunteer Week, a week of recognition that was first created to honour women’s contributions. In 1943, Canada declared the first National Volunteer Week to highlight the important contributions of women who volunteered on the home front during World War II.

At Interval House, these woman-centred origins of National Volunteer Week resonate; as the first shelter for abused women and children in Canada, our values have always included a woman-centred approach. And National Volunteer Week is particularly special to us, as volunteers have always been part of the backbone of our organization.

When we first opened our doors in 1973, the collective of women that ran Interval House were volunteers. Seeing a desperate need for women to have a safe place to turn, Interval House’s founding collective pooled their money and worked without compensation in order to offer a safe haven for women fleeing abuse.

More than 40 years later, our organization has understandably evolved quite a bit since the early days. But volunteers continue to be a crucial support for the work that we do. On a daily basis, volunteers at Interval House help in virtually every area of our centre. They can be found in the shelter, assisting with childcare, leading life skills workshops with our residents, and teaching ESL. In our Community Programs, they help women search for affordable housing, support job searches, and sort in-kind donations. And in our administrative department, they’re there doing research, planning events, making calls to our supporters, and even writing many of our blog posts.

We couldn’t do this work without the consistent and loyal support of our wonderful volunteers. While things have changed since 1973, we recognize that the intention of our volunteers remains much the same as the founding collective in those early days: to work tirelessly to end violence against women, simply because it is the right thing to do. For that, we’d like to extend our gratitude to each and every one of our Interval House volunteers this week. Thank you.