Many of the volunteering positions offered in the newspaper offer opportunities to meet new people and experience different environments, but few of them offer mentally challenging opportunities. SPARK is a Winnipeg project that assigns skilled people to short term consulting projects to help community organizations with specific needs.
Geoff Ripat, program coordinator, describes Spark as a “matchmaking” service.
Spark is looking for all kinds of skills, including: accounting and bookkeeping, architectural design, board governance, building renovation, information technology, landscape design, legal advice, social enterprise development, strategic planning, sustainability planning and website design…
Volunteers who contact Spark by phone or email are invited to meet with a Spark staff person to share information about specific skills, experience and availability. Spark then looks for an organization that needs this kind of help, which may or may not happen quickly.
Geoff Ripat says they ensure that both the volunteer and the participating organization benefit from each project: “We connect you with organizations that need your input and specific skills to carry out a time-limited assignment. Our work with organizations before you meet them helps ensure your contribution will be a good use of your valuable volunteer time.”
Unfortunately, Spark is only available in Winnipeg. Here’s their promotional video: