Each month, Volunteer Calgary chats with a manager of volunteers with one of our non-profit member organizations to share their personal success stories and best practices in the field of Volunteer Management.
Volunteer Resources Advisor
Silvera for Seniors
She started out as a volunteer for a non-profit organization, but Selina Clary soon realized that she had even more to offer. Her expertise as an operations manager combined with her passion to help organizations enhance overall customer service through the development of impactful volunteer roles and training launched her career path as a volunteer manager in 2004.
Clary is currently the Volunteer Services Advisor at Silvera for Seniors, an organization which advocates for seniors and provides safe and affordable housing for lower income seniors through a range of independent and supportive living options.
Volunteers enable Silvera to provide excellent service that is affordable for Calgary’s lower-income seniors. Clary is responsible for developing the volunteer program that supports over 1,500 residents in Silvera’s housing communities.
“Volunteers are essential to our work at Silvera for Seniors,” Clary said. “Without them, we would never be able to offer our residents so many choices and opportunities for their daily activities and events.”
At Silvera, there is a wide selection of volunteer positions – from artists and computer tutors to bus outing attendants. The volunteer program not only supports the organization’s effort to make life comfortable and colorful for their residents, but also offers volunteers an opportunity to make a meaningful impact on the lives of seniors in a variety of ways.
“Volunteering for Silvera is incredibly flexible,” said Clary. ”Commitments can be short or long term and it is suitable for all ages. Just coming by for some conversation as a friendly visitor is really appreciated by our seniors.”
All new volunteers are introduced to the organization and its culture through orientation sessions. With the help of Activity Coordinators and the HR department, Clary developed a volunteer manual that focuses on safety and organizational standards.
“We also have some great YouTube videos having fun with Silvera’s Sassy Seniors that have been incorporated into our standard orientation presentation for new volunteers,” she said, referring to a series of gag reels featuring some of their sassy seniors in endearing comedic scenarios.
Because she works with so many volunteers doing so many different things, Clary stresses the importance of being organized and diligently ensures that volunteer files are complete and up to date and volunteer hours are tracked consistently.
For Clary, managing volunteers is all about building relationships. She expressed the organization’s move towards recognizing volunteers all year round in their newsletter and on their upcoming new website. They also celebrate National Volunteer Week in honour of their volunteers.
“April’s volunteer appreciation week is always a busy time with celebrations at all of our Silvera communities,” Clary said.
Clary is a rare breed, a fourth generation Calgarian who is proud of her hometown. “I love how this city is always growing and changing while still feeling friendly and familiar,” she said.
Check out the Volunteer Calgary website to find volunteer opportunities with Silvera for Seniors.