By Andrew Hildred, Volunteer Coordinator
Did you know that National Volunteer Week takes place across Canada from April 16 to 22, 2023?
This year’s theme is “Volunteering Weaves Us Together.” Volunteering helps us find friendship, develop trust, and gain belonging. Volunteers become more deeply connected to their community and together, volunteers create a sense of unity.
Bringing Stories To Life With The Friends Society
This week, MONOVA would like to focus on a group of volunteers who have been helping to support the museum since 1993. The Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society (Friends Society) is a charitable organization dedicated to championing North Vancouver’s extensive history to the community and supporting MONOVA through community awareness, fundraising and volunteering.
The heart of the Friends Society is its volunteer board of directors, a group of dedicated volunteers who devote their time and energy to raising funds through membership and fundraising activities.
Here’s what the Friends have to say about their role as volunteers.
“Being a member of the Board of Directors provides me with the opportunity to help showcase the North Vancouver stories that are prevalent at the museum and to help make the connection between MONOVA, the Friends Society and our community,” notes Director Julie Wytrwal, who has been involved since November 2021. “I was a part of the 2022 Fundraising Gala – it was crazy busy, but such an exciting event to be part of!”
Making New Connections
Mina Mashhour has been involved with the museum for over 10 years and has been a member of the Friends Board of Directors for the past 3 years. For Mina, the Friends Board has been a great place to meet new people and to make new friends. It’s also been a great learning experience for her and an opportunity to learn more about the community she adopted over 25 years ago when she moved to the North Shore from Iran.
“Volunteering for the Friends and MONOVA helps support museum programs and initiatives that are so vital to telling the stories of North Vancouver and representing the resilient and diverse voices of our community,” adds Friends Chair Jennifer Pantel. “Volunteering is quite rewarding knowing we are supporting a welcoming museum space that inspires learning, explores an authentic past and forges stronger community relationships for the future.”
Opportunities For Discourse and Civic Engagement
Victor Elderton, is a lifelong resident of North Vancouver and has been involved in both the Friends Society dating back to the 1990s and the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Commission since 2014. Victor sees MONOVA as “a centre of civic discourse and engagement. A place where cultural and community stories are explored and celebrated. As a lifelong learner and a student of museums both personally and professionally, there are multiple ways that I contribute to the Friends mandate. Principally, my efforts focus on community engagement, championing museum initiatives and supporting fund development.”
Terry McAlduff was involved with the campaign to bring a new museum to The Shipyards.
“I wasn’t aware that Friends Societies were unusual in a museum setting. There is a Canadian Federation of Friends of Museums,” added Terry McAlduff. “You can check out their webpage, but there are not too many museums in the Lower Mainland that have active Friends Boards supporting them. As board members we all feel a sense of satisfaction when we connect with people in the community and help them learn more about what we have to offer. It’s all a sense of community and preserving history and having a sense of pride in the community that we all live in.”
And finally, the last word goes to Charlene Hill who is vice-chair of the Friends Board and chairs the membership committee.
Friends Leadership Circle Offers Many Benefits
“I feel my role on the Friends Board is to make sure that Friends Leadership Circle (FLC) members are supported and engaged with the society and with their role in supporting MONOVA,” said Charlene. ”FLC members benefit from an annual pass to the museum, and they also support MONOVA through their donations.”
There is a philanthropic purpose to becoming an FLC member. Membership ensures that the society remains strong and also supports MONOVA in its vision to become an inspirational and transformative community hub where the stories of North Vancouver’s people, places and past come to life.
Thanks to Friends Society Board Members Julie Wytrwal, Mina Mashhour, Jennifer Pantel, Victor Elderton, Terry McAlduff, Charlene Hill and Juan Tanús for helping to weave this story together and all they do to support MONOVA.
If you would like to become an Friends Leadership Circle member or if you would like to join the Board of Directors of the Friends Society, please click the link below to get involved!
We rely on contributions, monthly or one-time gifts, to help MONOVA safeguard and expand our community’s archival and museum collections, build learning experiences and inspire future generations.
Donations are accepted through the Friends of the North Vancouver Museum & Archives Society, Registered Charity No. 89031 1772 RR0001.
We respectfully acknowledge that MONOVA: Museum and Archives of North Vancouver is located on the traditional lands of the Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and Səl̓ílwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, whose ancestors have lived here for countless generations. We are grateful for the opportunity to live, work and learn with them on unceded Coast Salish Territory.