Moving to a new city is a challenge for anyone; new people to get to know, new environments to get used to, and new workplaces to get familiar with. This can be very stressful and a heavy load to bear. For me, the decision to move to Ottawa, was made by choice and so I didn’t want to be weighed down by the challenge of it all but wanted to be excited about the adventure. I wanted to take the opportunity to explore new territories, try new things and test out some new skills. But sometimes, even an adventurer likes to start with something familiar: United Way.
Back at home, United Way St. Catharines was an organization that was passionate about the community, gave back to the community and was run by the community. I always admired the vision and mission of the organization and so when moving to Ottawa, I decided that I would try to connect with the local chapter as a way to enhance my adventure.
After an information interview with the Director of Communication, it became clear that her needs and my skills were going to be a great match and so I began volunteering in the communications department with the task of reviving and re-tweaking the online presence for a local project called Kind Ottawa. Kind Ottawa, climaxing with Kindness Week (February 17-24), is a fabulous initiative in its fifth year, that promotes kindness throughout the community. United Way Ottawa, along with its community partners, encourages Ottawaians to be kind and make their City a kinder place, through random acts of kindness, community events and local volunteerism. It was my job to start the promotion of this great initiative with two online tools.
The first tool was a Facebook Page, available to both users and non-users alike. The goal was to create a platform for users to share stories, generate ideas and access important information about the initiative. Creating seven static pages, including a calendar of events, sponsor page and about page, the Kind Ottawa Facebook Page is customized to act as a mini website with interactive abilities. After one month of being active, our content has been viewed by over seven thousand people and is “Liked” by just under 200. We’re making progress.
The second tool that was created was a new website: kindottawa.ca. My task was to customize a wordpress.com template to highlight important information and promote our new Facebook page and existing Twitter feed. Working with the sites CSS, I customized the layout, fonts, sizes and positioning of the content and then tag-teamed with the Communications team and a graphic designer, to create a visually appealing site completely customized to the requests of the department. In the month of January, the page has received over one thousand views, and is growing in popularity. Again a good start.
My time with United Way Ottawa has been nothing but an adventure, giving me the opportunity to explore new territories, try new things and test out some new skills. Thank you to all the staff who welcomed me, put their faith in my abilities and stepped out and showed true kindness to me. You have eased the weight of the challenge of moving and have most definitely helped create excitement for the adventure I am on.