Friendship. Empowerment, Sisterhood. Happy time. Sense of belonging. Community.

Volunteer Reflections

These are just a few answers our volunteers gave when asked to reflect upon what they were getting out of volunteering for IWAM, the International Women’s Association of Modena.

IWAM lives and breathes women empowerment, sisterhood and mutual support, as well as giving back to other women and the wider community. Fully volunteer-run, we would not be able to provide the support we do and create the events we do, without the time and skills of our 40+ volunteers, that relentlessly contribute to creating what has become a large (150+ members) and lively women’s association, and a point of reference in women’s circles in Modena.

It is our tradition to organise a thank you evening for those who actively volunteer once a year. This past 11th of April, Lena Milosevic, in her new role as Volunteers Manager, supported by our events team, organised an “apericena” (aperitif evolving into a full-fledged dinner) at Bar Il Cicchetto in Piazza Pomposa in Modena.

After an inspirational speech by our president Simone Zaminer, Lena introduced her new role and explained how she plans to support volunteers and enrich their skills through workshops and training sessions. She guided a reflection on what the volunteer group has achieved this past year, and on what we all receive by giving and contributing. An emotional moment of deep appreciation, recognition and laughter.

IWAM members go through seasons, Lena explained. Many of us are new to Modena when we join, and are in the receiving phase. This is a moment to ask for support, settle in and get some grounding with the help of those members who have been here for a bit longer. Some start volunteering right away as a means to get out of the house and meet new friends, most need to get some grounding first. Then comes the phase when many feel the urge to give back; to act as mentors to new arrivals; to lead or co-lead one of our many interest groups; or to help out in one of the leadership support groups. Some love to get involved with one of the local organisations/charities that we support. The point being, while volunteering at IWAM can look and feel different depending on the tasks at hand, what it will do for sure is to enrich your life in Modena.

Do you want to become an active volunteer with IWAM? Reach out to Lena (Volunteers Manager) or Liz (Interest Groups Coordinator) or to a board member. We’d love to have you!

P.S.: Full list of answers to the question “What have you received from volunteering for IWAM?”: Friendship. A hug when needed. New skills. Great feeling of satisfaction from giving to others. Empowerment. Creating memories. Happy time chatting with the gals. Women to ask for advice and support. Sisterhood. Sense of belonging. Laughter. Connection. Community. Empathy. Inspiration. New motivations. Web editing skills.