Roundhouse volunteer coordinator, Michele Mateus, has big news. She and husband, Don, are expecting their first child in May 2014. So before Mateus packs up her office and bids adieu to the Roundhouse to begin her one-year maternity leave, she leaves us with a snapshot of what her job entails and why she’s so passionate about volunteerism.
JS: Why do you think volunteering is important?
MM: More and more our society seems disconnected and busy, and we do not make time for ourselves, or our neighbours. We complain about Vancouver being a hard place to meet friends, and loneliness seems to be a key factor in peoples’ experience here in Metro Vancouver. For me, volunteerism seems to be an important way to combat these concerns. We can create time and space in our lives for something that is meaningful.
JS: What drew you to want to pursue this kind of work?
MM: I have always been passionate about community engagement and I wanted to learn how to mobilize people to do good things and be the change they wish to see in the world.
JS: How would you describe your role at the Roundhouse?
MM: My job at the Roundhouse is to try and reach out to people and get them active in their community through volunteering. With support from our Board of Directors, I have developed some innovative volunteer programs like Papergirl Vancouver and our very own documentation and blog teams. I am currently working to develop a social media team, too.
JS: How might volunteers benefit from the experience of giving?
MM: It allows them to open up to new opportunities, experiences, and people that they may not normally get a chance to meet.
Being involved in the community allows all of us to challenge ourselves, share our skills and develop new ones. And it shows us that this world, so busy and focussed on technical gadgetry, still has a place for human interaction just for the sake of helping each other out.
JS: What do you love about working at the Roundhouse?
MM: Along with my friendly and dedicated co-workers, I love the volunteers I get to work with. What ties them all together is their passion to give back to the community and they truly inspire me to want to continue to do good work and develop the volunteer program at the Roundhouse.
Michele, our heartfelt congratulations to you and your family, from everyone here at the Roundhouse.
Meet the Roundhouse is a feature blog series. Jacqueline Steuart interviews staff members so that you can learn a little bit more about the people who help to make the Roundhouse a hive of creative and recreational activity, and the best community centre in Vancouver.
By Jacqueline Steuart, Roundhouse Blog Team. Jacqueline is a graduate of the Print Futures: Professional Writing program at Douglas College, New Westminster. She is pleased to write about the dynamic and diverse culture of the Roundhouse.