LONGEVITY IN VOLUNTEERING! MAY COURT HAS IT!
Do you think it’s hard to find an organization that you can volunteer with for many years? It’s not!
We sat down with 3 May Court members with different backgrounds and years of membership. Here’s what they have to say about May Court and why they keep volunteering.
Meet Ingrid. Ingrid has been volunteering for The May Court Club of Oakville for over 50 years! Recently, our May Court Nearly New Shop located on Kerr St. in Oakville, celebrated it’s 60th Anniversary. Here’s what Ingrid had to say on our Facebook page. “I joined May Court when the Nearly New Shop was 10 years old and I still come in twice a week in the Spring and Fall to help out. I love to work in the shop, so I encourage all young people to become a member to keep this wonderful charity working”. Ingrid also sat on the board as Treasurer for many years as well as committees.
Meet Fulvia! Fulvia has been with May Court for just about 13 years and spends her time on various committees, at the shop & board positions, including sitting on the Association of The May Court Clubs of Canada Board of Directors as Secretary Treasurer.
Lori is in her 5th year of membership and became very involved quickly! Lori shot her way to President in her first 3 years. Lori continues to be active in various committees of the club including co-convening our Puppeteer program today.
Why did you join The May Court Club of Oakville?
Ingrid: Well, back then, you had to be invited to join! A lot of women did not work at that time. I was new to Canada and Oakville, so I wanted to meet new friends and learn about the community. I joined and became fascinated with our Nearly New Shop and the Day Care May Court ran. Yes, May Court opened the first Day Care in Oakville!
Fulvia: I wanted to get involved in something that was not wrapped around my children’s lives & school. My children are very spread out in ages and I felt it was time to get outside the school environment. I attended one May Court General Meeting as a guest, and I was hooked! I was impressed that the members truly cared about what was going on in their community and their club. They didn’t just raise their hands and approve everything. They asked questions and wanted to know details! I respected that.
Lori: I had the good fortune to retire early, and I was looking for a purposeful activity to exercise my experience and talents, and an opportunity to make friends. May Court fit the bill perfectly.
What was your proudest moment as a Member?
Ingrid: Over 40 years ago, we were involved with Carey House in Burlington. It was about to shut down, but myself and other members worked hard to keep it going. Carey House is a Capability Support Service and is still around today! It provides affordable & accessible housing to adults with physical disabilities ages 16 and up. May Court continues to support Carey House today. I am very proud of that!
Fulvia: There are just too many things to mention! I am a people person, so for me, I am most proud of our members. I am always amazed by my fellow volunteers. They are inspirational, supportive, and fun to be around. However, the most heart warming moment came when I was selling tickets for a fundraiser at Oakville Place mall and a mother and daughter walked by. They soon realized that I was a part of May Court and the mother gave me a great big hug and said thank you to May Court for giving her daughter a scholarship grant! She did that with tears in her eyes and a huge smile on her face. Her daughter credits May Court for giving her the opportunity to attend McMaster University for Medical Sciences. I could go on and on about many proud moments. I really could!
Lori: As Fulvia mentions, there have been many proud moments, but for me, posing with the $100,000.00 cheque with the Oakville Hospital Foundation staff in June 2016 was a highlight. May Court pledged the amount over three years, and we were able to raise the funds in just two!
What keeps you motivated to continue volunteering with May Court?
Ingrid: Volunteering keeps you younger! It’s true. It feels good to do my part. I feel that I have contributed to society. I like the variety of interactions at the shop. It’s a nice change. I’m always proud of the amount of support and funds May Court raises. It feels good to be a part of something that is really making a difference to those in need.
Fulvia: Ingrid hit the nail on the head. Nothing feels better than knowing that you are a part of the big picture. You can’t beat the feeling we get after a successful fundraiser, or when we are at the schools performing our puppet shows and you know the children are getting the important message we are sharing about bullying. I love to learn new skills & like variety. May Court has provided me with many opportunities and I have learned a lot!
Lori: There are always new & exciting projects to take part in, with great opportunities for learning, wonderful support from fellow members, and a chance to gather with friends. The club offers an excellent balance of work and play.
What advice would you offer to someone looking to volunteer?
Ingrid: I would encourage my fellow seniors to join! Volunteering at May Court keeps you feeling younger. You mix with all ages of women, which also keeps you current & vibrant! I would suggest volunteering for a shift at our Nearly New Shop. I think the shop is a perfect fit for seniors. But as I said before, I encourage all young people to volunteer!
Fulvia: As a former Membership Director, I can tell you that May Court does offer many areas of opportunity that would fit your interests, availability, and experience. I feel that is one of May Court’s greatest advantages. As a member, you have more opportunities to meet new friends, be a part of many different committees & service placements that benefit more than just one cause, which is unlike most other volunteer organizations. You won’t get bored. I think that is why we have a lot of members with many years of service. My 13 years have flown by! I always suggest being true to your availability & personality. We don’t want our members to feel guilty for over committing or stretching outside their comfort zone too far or too soon! We have many different levels of commitments for committees & service. We also have roles for women who want to work independently and/or at home. I also suggest that all new members be open to sharing skills and to learning new skills.
Lori: As a fresh retiree, I wanted to give back and spend my time in a meaningful way, but I found choosing among the large number of organizations that involve volunteers in our community overwhelming. At May Court, a Service Club, one can find get involved gradually, and each service area or social activity brings you into the supportive circle of a group of women who quickly become friends. From there you learn the variety of areas that can use your experience and talents from retail merchandising, to event planning, to creative web and graphic design. So, great scope, and less intimidating as your always with friends.
In volunteering for a single organization, you learn a good deal about its field. With May Court, during our grants review process, you get to meet representatives from dozens of organizations serving the most vulnerable in our community. So, in comparison, you learn a great deal about your community.
What are you looking forward to within May Court?
Ingrid: I look forward to my shifts at the Nearly New Shop! I love the interactions with the customers, or regulars, and the wonderful ladies that I work with.
Fulvia: I’m looking forward to May Court’s new website! I joined the Website Committee last year. It’s a whole new world for me, and I have enjoyed the whole process. As a club, we are incredibly fortunate to have many active supporters who repeatedly sponsor our fundraisers, programs and projects like this new website! Digital Marketing Experts has been a sponsor and a donor for our website for many years now, and they have been a pleasure to work with. I can’t tell you how lucky we are! It’s exciting!
Lori: I’m personally looking forward to this year’s big Fashion Show on October 12th. It is always an outstanding event and a way to meet many people from our community.
We’ll end this conversation with Lori’s last comment.
Lori: Yes, we are associated with 8 other May Court Clubs in Ontario, and so you get to learn a great deal about their communities too. I’ll never forget when I attended a meeting of the Association of May Court Clubs of Canada, and I spoke from the podium at the annual dinner as our Club’s President. Over 20 Oakville representatives attended, and our Club won the prize for the best attendance. I’ll never forget the beaming faces and cheers as we learned the results.
Membership is open to women 18 years and older. If you are interested in learning more about membership, check out our Become a Member section on our website or email our Membership Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.