Happy National Volunteer Week – Every Moment Matters!

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April 14th – 20th marks National Volunteer Week, a special week for us here at YWCA Hamilton and non-profit organizations across the country. This week gives organizations an opportunity to recognize every volunteer and celebrate their invaluable contribution to the lives of individuals and our communities.

This year’s theme is ‘Every Moment Matters’ and highlights how beyond sharing their skills and time, volunteers form meaningful and lasting connections with people – these connections enrich the lives of the volunteers and the individuals or community they are serving, often helping each other through tough times.

One such volunteer, who has been supporting YWCA Hamilton since 2014, is Thayra Marting. We sat down with her to talk about her journey, her love for children, and her story of volunteering at YWCA Hamilton over the years.

Thayra volunteers with Good Beginnings Program, a program that helps new mothers and birthing parents connect with volunteers who provide in-home support to help them cope with the challenges of having a new baby and/or those who are at risk of postpartum depression.

Having worked with children previously, Thayra shares “I just love children and love to help out in whatever way I can.” She came across the Good Beginnings program and thought it was the perfect volunteer opportunity for her skills and passion.

In her role, Thayra often visits new mothers at their home to help them in a number of ways. She provides emotional support to the child and the mother. She shares that often times, new mothers want an emphatic listening ear and someone who understands what they might be experiencing.

Sharing her favourite memory from volunteering with Good Beginnings, Thayra expresses working with families is different each time but mothers often ask her to sing to their babies and children. “Maybe it is my voice or the Spanish lullaby I sing, it calms the kids down”, she laughs.

The most heartwarming moment for her was when she was finishing up her term with a family and the mother asked Thayra to record her lullaby for the child to listen to later, even after their term.

On her motivation to volunteer with YWCA Hamilton for over a decade, Thayra reflects on her personal experience with having depression. She shares that she understands how tough it can be and how lending a listening ear could make a world of difference to a new mother or someone going through depression. It keeps her going – knowing that she is supporting someone who is at a vulnerable time in their life.

Thayra further shares her journey and that she came to Canada as a newcomer and sought the support of shelters. At the shelter, she came across many volunteers who would help out in whatever capacity they could. Every volunteer and their efforts were immensely helpful to the people seeking resources at the shelter.

Much like Thayra and that volunteer she looked up to, YWCA Hamilton volunteers often have a deep and lasting impact on the lives they touch. They play a critical role in helping people through a tough time in their life.

“It is important to give back to the community, in whatever way you feel comfortable,” Thayra adds. She emphasizes the importance of giving back to the community through volunteering for an organization that aligns with your values.

In a way, volunteering is about paving the way forward and showing up for your community as your community might have shown up for you. For Thayra, volunteering is also an emotionally fulfilling experience. She takes time out of her busy schedule while working full-time, every week, to help out a mother and family in need.

At the end of our conversation, Thayra expressed gratitude towards Liliana, Supervisor of the Good Beginnings Program, for all her support and help in connecting with new mothers.

YWCA Hamilton is deeply grateful for Thayra’s commitment and support over the past 10 years. Her dedication has touched and impacted many lives. We also extend our heartfelt thanks to all the volunteers at YWCA Hamilton who have changed lives, powered our mission, and been an instrumental and essential part of our organization. If you’d like to learn more about volunteering opportunities with YWCA Hamilton please visit our website and out reach to Volunteer Coordinator, Stacey Marshall, by email at smarshall@ywcahamilton.org to learn more.

Happy National Volunteer Week!



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