Volunteering for Homeless Connect 4

On Sunday, Mack and I joined a few hundred other volunteers at the Shaw Conference Centre for Homeless Connect 4. Coordinated by Homeward Trust, Homeless Connect is a biannual event providing a “one-stop shop” of services for those without a permanent home – everything from foot care to employment assistance to haircuts.

Ready to rock

Many of the service providers from previous events were present, though a big gap (unfortunately because of the Mother’s Day clash) was dental services. New this time around were artistic touches, including a vibrant art display from iPulse, and a volunteer pianist, who helped lighten the ambiance among the sounds of busy chatter in the hall.

Art display

Pianist

As this was our third time out (and my third in the capacity of a registration volunteer), we knew what to expect – the non-stop flow of guests for the first two hours, then inconsistent waves throughout the rest of the day. And though I’ve remained in the same role each time, I have to say I still enjoy it, and find it immensely rewarding.

The few minutes of sitting down with a guest, getting a mere snapshot of their situation, always reminds me of how fortunate I am to have a roof over my head. And with those guests who seem willing to share their story, I know I’m always torn between prolonging the interview for my own selfish desire to know more about their reality and getting them through the process so they can start accessing the services they need.

Registration area

I’m happy to say that Homeward Trust also did a great job of streamlining the form this time, eliminating the long list of questions regarding awareness of different organizations that appeared in the previous version. Also, offering a sticker to those who preferred not to have their image captured by media was another great addition.

My registration space

At the end of the day, over 1250 guests came through the doors, more than the last Homeless Connect held in October. As Homeward Trust succeeds with achieving the targets in the Ten Year Plan to End Homelessness though, it is hoped that attendance numbers eventually start to decline (and with a great start, I am optimistic that this will happen).

Thanks again to Homeward Trust and Shaw for organizing such a valuable service to those less fortunate. I’ll be back again in October to help out.

You read my recaps of previous Homeless Connect events here and here.

7 thoughts on “Volunteering for Homeless Connect 4

  1. Sounds like a good event.

    Is it wrong that, because I had not heard of the event before, I thought of a whole lot of games of Connect 4 being played on sidewalks, in alleys, etc? 🙂

  2. Hey Sharon- Good for you two. Kat played at the event last year ( I think it was last year) and she came home just pumped about what a great event it was.

  3. Debra – it is a worthy event indeed.

    Milo – heh, yeah, I guess it could be read that way. Thankfully, the next one is Homeless Connect 5 :).

    Jill – we probably heard Kat last year (we volunteered for both Homeless Connect events in 2009), but didn’t even know it!

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