SPARK: Striking the Right Match

Spark Volunteer Kim Champion TaylorSometimes when opportunity comes knocking, you don’t always listen, but sometimes you’re lucky enough that it knocks twice. Just ask Kim Champion Taylor, Assiniboine’s Director of Human Resources.

In the fall of 2011, Spark’s Program Co-ordinator, Geoff Ripat, approached Assiniboine to find someone with the right skills to fill a volunteer position. The request landed on Kim’s desk. “My first thought was that it was a fantastic idea, but one that probably would take more time than I had to give, so I said no.”

But Geoff persisted and convinced Kim that the opportunity would be worth the short amount of time Spark and Mediation Services needed. “He’s got a great understanding of the skills needed for a good match, and for the ways in which the matches Spark creates benefit both the volunteer and the organization being helped,” Kim explained. “It didn’t take long for me to get hooked.”

For 10 hours over two months, Kim worked with Lois Coleman Neufeld, the Executive Director of Mediation Services. Together they re-developed the compensation plan for Mediation Services, a non-profit organization that works with individuals and groups to find solutions to conflict.

It was easy. Spark had already worked with Lois to get a clear idea of what they needed, and there was a contract prepared that added to the professional nature of the commitment. The duration of their ‘ask’ was short and the definite endpoint to the project made it easier for me to commit. Plus it was work I like to do, but in a different environment than I’m used to.

Would she recommend Spark to others? Kim doesn’t miss a beat. “Absolutely. You go in thinking that you’ll help someone else, but you discover that you learn and get as much as you give. There are benefits on many levels: professional, experiential, knowing you’re helping out a great organization to build a stronger city, and definitely personal. Lois and I have become good friends. Geoff was right, it was both interesting and very fulfilling.”

adapted from asterisk October 2012 print version

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