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"I want to do this, but can I, really?": Let's talk about economic well-being and volunteering

Written by: Mio Senzaki

Date: April 11, 2022

Meet #EverydayHero Amanda:

Amanda, who nurtures an interest in social enterprise and entrepreneurship, volunteers with Employ to Empower, an organization based in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside (DTES) that serves aspiring entrepreneurs. Employ to Empower supports entrepreneurs on their journeys to create their very own businesses. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Amanda has been involved with the organization virtually.

Economic well-being is a key component of health promotion. This is one of the reasons why Amanda sought to be part of the work at Employ to Empower. With Employ to Empower, she has been able to utilize the talents and skills she already possessed to support the DTES community. Her core belief is that everyone should have the right to opportunities that allow them to thrive. She says that joining Employ to Empower has allowed her to be part of an amazing team with shared values and passions.

Digital Literacy in an evolving world

There is no doubt that technology has become ubiquitous within our society and working world. Nowadays, people are expected to know how to use phones, computers, and the Internet well. However, not everyone has access to such devices or to online platforms such as social media, and even more importantly, not everyone knows what makes these tools accessible and a valid option for them. To tackle this challenge, Amanda has supported Employ to Empower’s development course with a social media module that is interactive and adapted to every participant's experiences and willingness to delve into the world of social media The module exposes participants to accessible marketing and branding tools to help get their business’ messages through to an engaged public audience. By providing participants with resources and a caring environment, aspiring entrepreneurs are empowered to use technology to support their business goals.

Amanda shared a story about an entrepreneur who was very opposed to using social media or being present online in general, for many valid reasons. After attending the module and some one-on-one mentoring, he independently decided to give social media a shot. Now, he is using different channels to try new business strategies and expand his reach.

By teaching this course, Amanda was able to critically observe and think about how different people perceived social media and whether these digital tools would help them or not. Eventually, her team’s efforts to teach about digital literacy brought on a positive and valuable experience for all. In fact, some participants now use social media to simply stay connected with their community members and find information and resources to support themselves in their own personal lives.

For Amanda, volunteering at Employ to Empower is a great way to provide support and create community-based foundations for what actually needs to be happening on a larger scale. While entrepreneurship might not be everyone’s passion, that does not mean that folks should not have access to it.

An important reminder

During the interview, Amanda shared something very important to remind ourselves.

“It is very important to acknowledge that being able to volunteer is an opportunity of privilege.”

It is not just about developing her skills, but she adds, “You can donate your time and ability to the cause that you really care about. It is not something that everyone can do because of life obligations. This critical awareness creates a foundation that can lead volunteering work to be an authentic, honest commitment, especially when it comes to social justice!”


Meet Employ to Empower:

Employ to Empower is an organization that aims to positively impact the Downtown Eastside community by providing its residents with employment support, as well as entrepreneurial skills and resources. It works to take down the economic barriers in society that play a part in excluding vulnerable groups from experiencing a high quality of life, among various other barriers.

Establishing a sense of community is something that the organization values as every human relationship is personalized, thoughtful and intentional. For Employ to Empower, this human-first approach is a critical key for every individual to succeed

.Find out more about Employ to Empower here:

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