The gift of time


If you’d like to volunteer but don’t know where to begin, Volunteer Ottawa can help.


“Volunteer Ottawa strengthens our community,” says Christine Trauttmansdorff, the executive director of Volunteer Ottawa, “by supporting volunteers and the not-for-profit sector.”


It’s easy to find the perfect opportunity to fit your skills and interests. “Volunteers can [browse] the postings on and use the filter options to find opportunities,” says Trauttmansdorff. “It’s that easy to find something that matches the potential volunteers’ skills and interests, along with location or the time they have available. Volunteers can also “register on [the] website so that organizations can find them.”


Volunteer Ottawa also runs a program called Generation Give, which targets youth volunteers. “We connect with schools and student groups to promote awareness of the opportunities available.” In addition, young people can use the website to find volunteer opportunities suited to them. It’s as simple as completing the registration form so organizations can approach them directly.”


High school student Willow Cartwright has been volunteering as a math tutor for elementary school-aged children, hosting Google Meets sessions on a weekly basis since last year.


Tutoring helps “children who might be struggling,” says Cartwright, but “not in a position to afford paid services.”


The Volunteer Ottawa website was very helpful in matching the 17-year-old Mechanicsville teen to this opportunity. “It was super easy to filter and match what best suited me.”


Cartwright, who plans to study engineering in university, says she is really heartened to see marked improvements in the kids she is tutoring. “I know what it is like to struggle with learning and I understand the importance of education, which is why I feel so lucky to have been a part of this process.”


Because of this experience, Cartwright, who recently completed Grade 11, adds: “I want to continue to take opportunities that make an impact on the lives of others, through lifelong volunteering.”


Cartwright isn’t alone. There are lots of volunteers who feel the same way, wanting to share and give back. As such, Volunteer Ottawa will be celebrating its 65th anniversary this fall, with a special awards gala to be held Oct. 27 at the Westin Hotel. 


The VOscars is an annual event ‘that recognizes the outstanding contributions of Ottawa’s volunteers’. Nominations opened in June – check and their social media channels for the latest up-to-date information.


There are awards in many different categories, including the Lifetime Achievement Award that recognizes the work of an outstanding community volunteer leader. 


Trauttmansdorff adds “that the human connections formed through volunteering build the trust and understanding that define community and make a place like Ottawa such a wonderful place to live.”


About Volunteer Ottawa

Volunteer Ottawa:

– promotes the benefits of volunteering;

– matches volunteers with opportunities and promote available volunteer positions within our members’ organizations;

– encourages people to offer their time and talent to the community;

– creates opportunities for employers from all sectors (public, private and not-for-profit) to give back to the community through group volunteering;

– builds capacity among not-for-profits and individual volunteers by providing training workshops, webinars and networking opportunities;

– celebrates volunteerism with events like the annual VOscars Awards Gala;

– provides a central hub that connects volunteers throughout the region with not-for-profits providing services and supports to all sectors.

The knowledge, expertise and connections made available by Volunteer Ottawa improves the quality of programs, activities and services the not-for-profit sector is able to offer, and also enhances the volunteers who give their valuable time and skills to these organizations.


Recipients of the Volunteer Ottawa Lifetime Achievement Award

2011 – Max Keeping

2012 – Lawrence Greenspon

2013 – Grete Hale

2014 – Barbara McInnes

2015 – Jim Durrell

2016 – Coralie Lalonde

2017 – Dave Smith

2018 – James McCracken 

2019 – Dennis Jackson

2021 – Jacquelin Holzman