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Home2020 MAVA Conference November Sessions

2020 Conference Workshops


MAVA is excited to present the following workshops for our November virtual conference. Participants will select from two workshops offered during each timeframe (schedule coming soon).

Monday, November 16 Workshops

Breaking the Cycle of White Supremacy Culture
This interactive workshop invites attendees to explore the ways that white supremacy is harming us and the work that we do. During our time together, we will reflect on how the dominant culture shows up in us (White Folks and People of Color) and will be given tools and strategies to stop the cycle. This workshop will use the collective wisdom in the room to foster new ideas and think about what is possible when we all do our internal work.
Presenter: Donte Curtis

Empowering Volunteers to Strengthen Community and Advance Health Equity through Storytelling
When people see themselves as the creators and makers of their own history, they also come to see themselves as the writers of their own destinies. Discover how the Antonito Youth Museum of Memory Project (a youth-centered, community-based storytelling initiative in rural Colorado) is providing a pathway for Antonito youth to actively engage in local history and culture to enhance youth leadership and civic engagement. Project directors, an Antonito youth volunteer, and our panel moderator will explore how each of the following have been vital to the project success:
● Partnerships with funders, schools, museums, and the community 
● Engaging volunteers from within the community 
● Redefining the traditional frameworks for volunteer engagement (including roles, tracking, etc.)
● Adapting to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic
Moderator: Beth Steinhorn; Panelists: Eric Carpio, Maria Islas-Lopez, Emily Dobish

From Allyship to Leadership: Using Social Justice and Emotional Intelligence to Transform Our Volunteer Experience
Too often, we educate volunteers to engage with marginalized and underrepresented communities by "learning about those communities."  While it's important to understand our neighbors and community members, authentic engagement across difference starts by understanding ourselves.  What were we taught about people with different social identities?  What preconceived ideas and stereotypes reside within us?  How has privilege impacted how we see the world - and how we act?  How do microaggressions and implicit bias play out as we volunteer in our organizations?  Now more than ever, as we live through a national reckoning around racism and white privilege, we are called to act as leaders by bringing a social justice lens to all our volunteer interactions. In this interactive workshop, we will explore how we can use a social justice lens - and an understanding of emotional intelligence - to make a difference as volunteers - and as leaders.  
Presenter: Anne Phibbs

Embracing and Engaging Older Volunteers
Older Minnesotans, many of whom are highly educated, skilled and experienced, offer tremendous potential volunteerism in our communities yet we have not effectively tapped into this vast resource. The COVID 19 pandemic has added additional barriers given that many older volunteers are furloughed or have opted not to volunteer in person. This workshop will:
1. Offer tips and tools for organizations to create pathways for their aging volunteers to remain engaged. 
2. Equip volunteer leaders to recognize the value of older volunteers; understand how individuals’ abilities may change with age; examine flexibility within volunteer roles; and consider implementing a program to help volunteers transition from one role to the next.
3. Provide guidance on how to prepare staff nearing retirement for the transition into volunteer work upon retirement.  
Presenters: Jay Haapala, Janene Riedeman, Margie Solomon

Tuesday, November 17 Workshops

Supporting Veteran Volunteers as They Serve the Community
Veterans have a unique set of experiences that only those who have served can truly understand. This session will go beyond the basics of how to recruit, engage, and retain veterans. Through both large and small group discussion, we will explore, across industry, recognizing and acknowledging different perspectives, honoring the veteran experience, utilizing the veteran’s leadership skills, and embracing and supporting this group of volunteers in the work they do.
Presenter: Brittany Biggers

No "One Right Way": Imagining New Systems for Volunteer Engagement

One characteristic of white supremacy culture is the idea that there is “one right way” to do things. There are many ways in which volunteer engagement systems reflect this characteristic; for example, the formal processes for onboarding volunteers, the requirement of an ongoing commitment for certain roles, and the limited voice volunteers may have in how services are delivered. MAVA recently held a series of listening sessions with BIPOC volunteers in the Twin Cities to learn more about the barriers put up by the “one right way” mentality, along with brainstorming other ways of engaging volunteers that are more inclusive and equitable. In this session we’ll discuss the key themes of what interviewed volunteers had to say and share their ideas – along with ways we’ve seen these ideas in action – for making “many different ways” a norm in volunteerism.

Presenter: Lisa Joyslin


Crafting Inclusive Volunteer Recruitment Messages

Language matters! Are the words you are using in your volunteer recruitment messages excluding identities and experiences? Join this session to learn how you can change your volunteer recruitment message to be more inclusive to communities of color. You will have an opportunity to see inclusive recruitment message examples, discuss inclusive language and workshop your volunteer recruitment message with other volunteer engagement leaders. Participants are encouraged to bring their volunteer recruitment messages to share and edit in small groups during the session.
Presenter: Wendy Roberts

Understanding oppression: How oppression manifests in our individual experiences and organizational structures
This one-hour workshop helps participants understand oppression, how it demonstrates at the individual and institutional levels. This session is an opportunity for participants to increase their knowledge of key concepts related to making individual change and change within an organization by putting attention on examples of how norms, practices, and policies are shaped by predominantly and primarily White cis-male racial framing. There will be a mix of discussion, an exercise for individual work, and examples of institutional areas to address.
This workshop lays the foundation for increasing self-awareness, share definitions, and participants gain an awareness and knowledge of how: 
• Oppression impacts the individual and positions each of us in the structures of oppression.
• Cultural backgrounds inform and shape our values, biases, and how we identify, view, and relate to equity and inequities.
• New ways to counter dominant norms and practices.
• How our identities and our preferences impact and influence the decisions, we make within our institutions.
Presenter: Cardina Esparza

Supporting Volunteers with Mental Illnesses
1 in 5 adults in the U.S. experiences mental illness, which means many of our current and potential volunteers are living with mental health conditions. This session will cover simple tools, practical strategies, and next steps to ensure your volunteer program welcomes, supports and sustains volunteers with mental illness. By the end of this training, participants will be better able to recognize common symptoms and communication strategies, identify concrete steps that any organization can take, and create their own achievable action plan to better support volunteers with mental illness. 
Presenter: Katie Mahoney

Bridging the Gap of Understanding between Privilege and Poverty
What are you one story away from understanding better?  This interactive training will encourage you to increase awareness and think from different perspectives as a volunteer, community member and care giver.  Participants will be immersed in conversation and activities focused on what it might be like to live in poverty and how it affects everything - attitude, outlook and decisions.  We will face the impact of the evocative word “privilege” and dive into what the most vulnerable in our community face every day.  Further your journey with training and conversational tools and perspective to bridge the gap of understanding.  People find this change in mindset to be extremely valuable not only in volunteering opportunities, but also in greater understanding in all their interactions and relationships. 
Presenter: Danielle Brady

Wednesday, November 18 Workshops

Exploring Gender Inclusivity & Equity in Volunteerism: Creating space for and fostering relationships with volunteers of all genders

Join queer educator Chuck Bernsohn for a 90-minute session to explore social norms of gender and their impact on the recruitment, retention, and experience of your volunteers. This workshop will include a deep-dive into the use of trans-affirming, gender-neutral language, an investigation into the ways gender influences the dynamics of your volunteers and staff, and the creation of action plans for making your organization more welcoming and affirming of people of all genders.
Presenter: Chuck Bernsohn

Rural Volunteerism in 2021 and Post-COVID

The challenges facing rural volunteer programs are being exasperated due to the everchanging societal landscape in 2020. How do we keep operating with layoffs? Changing roles? And our volunteers not returning? Based off MAVA’s recent survey of Greater MN, we will do a deep dive into these issues and plan a path forward. You will leave this session with tools and resources to begin tackling inequalities you see in your organization. Such as the need to recruit a younger volunteer base and how to adjust roles to address transportation or internet issues in our communities.

Presenter: Cairn Reisch, Julie Vreeland


Working Toward Racial Equity in the time of COVID

In January of 2020, MAVA convened our first “Inclusive Volunteerism Cohort” – a group of volunteer engagement leaders committed to advancing racial equity who would meet regularly over the course of the year to support and inspire one another. Then, in March, COVID-19 hit the U.S., and both the volunteer engagement leaders and their organizations suddenly faced uncharted territory and new challenges. In this session, the volunteer engagement leaders who participated in this cohort will discuss how they pivoted their services – including their racial equity work – as they dealt with the pandemic. They’ll also discuss their response to George Floyd’s murder and the following civil unrest, and how they kept racial equity work as a focus and priority throughout a difficult year. They’ll offer ideas for advancing racial equity within your own volunteer program and inspire you to think creatively about how to overcome current challenges.

Moderator: Niila Hebert; Panelists: Rojo Andriamihaja, Kathleen Cannon, Courtney Flug

Making All Volunteering as Accessible as Possible
If you want access to the greatest amount of talent and resources that volunteers can possibly bring to your program, you have to make all volunteering as accessible as possible. That means looking for ways to accommodate a myriad of people who have different abilities, needs, personality types, work styles and available times for service. Recruitment, on-boarding and tasks for volunteers can all be designed in such a way to accommodate and welcome the greatest diversity of people, including people with disabilities. This webinar will help you see how you can adjust your language, roles and engagement for the recruitment and engagement volunteers so that it welcomes more people, including people with disabilities - and show how in making those adjustments you accommodate people who do not identify as people with disabilities.
Presenter: Jayne Cravens