1. Tell us a little more about Start2Finish. What is your mission and what kinds of services do you provide?
Start2Finish is a nonprofit children’s charity empowering kids for life. Our mission is to break the cycle of child poverty by providing ongoing educational support to Canada’s at-risk children throughout their school years. We do this by nurturing mind, body, and social health so they are empowered to succeed and become role models for change. Our vision is to eradicate the effects of child poverty in Canada through education.
Through our Pathway of Hope, we believe this is possible! Start2Finish offers a variety of programs and resources to families and educators to help support students’ fitness, literacy, and social-emotional needs, with mentorship at the core of all our programs.
Our “Running & Reading Club +” program connects passionate community members with students in the community in a hyperbaric chamber of hope that promotes teamwork and a positive self-image. With the help of volunteer coaches, R&R+ addresses the need for enhanced literacy and physical activity among school-aged children (grades 1-6) experiencing poverty & deprivation in the communities it services.
The R&R+ program consists of one weekly in-person session (Running & Reading Club) and two weekly virtual sessions (Brainworx). We encourage all students to join us both in-person and online in our “+” program; however, we also offer the programs separately to accommodate the needs and limitations of all students.
When students have graduated from our 1-6 programs, we offer a Junior Coach Leadership Development program for grade 7 & 8 students to provide mentorship, growth, and empowerment through their transitional middle years.
2. How long have you personally been involved with Start2Finish?
I joined the Start2Finish team in 2018, overseeing the Guelph, Hamilton, and Halton regional programming and volunteer recruitment and management. Throughout the pandemic, I helped our organization navigate into a new and exciting virtual space, creating online programming that children across the country could access without the barriers of location.
I stepped into the National Field Manager role in the Spring of 2022, expanding my reach to children, volunteers, and community partners across the country.
3. What’s the biggest challenge you face today as a nonprofit?
As an organization that relies heavily on volunteers to deliver our programming, volunteer recruitment will likely always be one of our biggest barriers to maintaining and expanding our programs into communities in need. We have such wonderful, talented, passionate, and committed volunteers in our programs. As we continue to expand in both the in-person and virtual spaces, we will continue to need more volunteers to join our dynamic teams.
4. In what ways did Kambeo appeal to you?
While looking for a way to efficiently and effectively recruit volunteers in the Hamilton region, I came across Kambeo as a space to both recruit and manage interested volunteers. I liked that I could post various opportunities and roles under one S2F profile, allowing prospective volunteers to see all of the opportunities currently available.
5. How did Kambeo help you find volunteers for an In-person Running & Reading Club Coach?
Kambeo has helped to bring people in the Hamilton community to Start2Finish through their easy-to-navigate platform and opportunity postings. Individuals have been able to contact Start2Finish directly to learn more about us and get involved; it’s created a channel for new volunteers that we didn’t previously have in the Hamilton area.
6. How can people help support Start2Finish?
There are many ways that people can support Start2Finish. This includes volunteering in one of our programs or for a special event/fundraiser, donating money to help cover the expenses involved in offering free programming to thousands of Canadian children, and even just spreading the word. Spreading awareness about the needs of marginalized children in your community and encouraging others to get involved is both helpful and appreciated.
Learn more about Start2Finish at https://www.start2finishonline.org/