This week is Canada’s National Volunteer week – the perfect time to say thank you to the volunteers whose dedication and generosity make our work possible. Every day this week, we’ll be sharing the story of one of the more than 5000 United Way volunteers we are so grateful for. We couldn’t do it without you.
Volunteer Lindy Choy serves on the Board of Trustees, helping guide the work of the United Way.
How did you start volunteering with United Way?
The chair of the Board of Trustees at the time called me and asked me to serve. I knew about the United Way and was familiar with what they did, and having an opportunity to become involved in their operations was really something I couldn’t refuse!
What do you do as a volunteer on the Board of Trustees?
The board of trustees is made up of members of the community who meet regularly and basically help direct the ship – we oversee all of the operations of United Way and provide input on how United Way should move forward in fulfilling its goals.
It’s a wide variety of people who serve on it, both people in business and people who are working directly in the community, but I see a common thread through everyone, in that everyone’s very authentic. And I think that’s typical of Winnipeg – everyone’s there because they do truly want to make a difference, and they are interested in what’s going on.
What motivates you to volunteer?
Just the other week, I was at a talk by Dr Chochinov, who’s a professor of psychiatry at the University of Manitoba and the director of Palliative Care Research with CancerCare Manitoba. He coined a phrase that I thought was great, called ‘pathways to compassion.’ His talk was about understanding dignity, and how you can understand other people better, and one of the elements of that was compassion. The question was “How do you develop compassion?” and he said that there were different pathways to compassion. Some of it is studying the humanities, some of it is exposing yourself to other parts of the world, and I think that volunteering is definitely a pathway to compassion. Because you expose yourself to more people and more of humanity, and I think you get a better understanding of what people are all about when you do that.
Whether they’re working with our agency partners, reaching out to donors, running special events, helping to build understanding about important issues in our community, or ensuring United Way itself is an effective and efficient organization … at the end of the day, they make it possible for people all over this city to build better lives for themselves and their families.