volunter week poster for The ArQuives volunteersTheme for National Volunteer Week 2016 is that Volunteers are the roots of strong communities. This is quite true at The ArQuives where for the first 30 years we were an entirely volunteer run organization. The volunteers saw this organization grow to where it is today and, continue to do so. We have in recent years seen significant growth as more volunteers join us and give more hours. In 2015 alone 122 people gave 10996 recorded hours of volunteer service to The ArQuives. Within that they did everything from archiving, to research support, prideful LGBTQ+ history community tours, thought provoking exhibits and, even shoveling the front steps. Last year we decide to profile some of our long serving volunteers including: Alan Miller (since 1977), Harold Averill (since 1978), Don McLeod (since 1984), Gordon Richardson (since 1985), and Mario Ciancibello (since 1998). This year we decided to profile some of our committee chairs. As big roots are needed for many others to grow, our chairs facilitate the work of so many others. Community Engagement Committee Chair – Robyn HallCommunity Engagement Committee Chair – Robyn Hall “At age 17 a career guidance computer program told me I should be an archivist. At the time I didn’t know what an archivist was =)  Many, many years later I realized that predication was a good one for me, and I returned to school to obtain the Master of Information, Archival Studies. I am now a Media Researcher / Archivist at TVO. I’ve been volunteering at The ArQuives since 2009. I am a big believer that we must understand and remember the past to go forward. The countless hours of time and love that have been put into The ArQuives mean that this is one of the only sites in Canada where all can come to touch on the history of LGBTQ communities in our country. I enjoy the lovely people who work and volunteer here and discovering the little known stories of our communities as I go along. Any time I open a box or a drawer, there is something new.” Curatorial Committee Chair – Sarah MunroCuratorial Committee Chair – Sarah Munro “I realized very early on that volunteering is a great way to both see and be seen. Yes, volunteerism helps you to gain experience in your field, to connect with likeminded people, and to get your name out into the world, but it also exposes you to things you might not otherwise get to experience. As a cash-strapped student, I couldn’t afford to attend many events, but I could afford to volunteer at them! I gained a lot of free insights that way: ideas and attitudes that I still carry with me.” Quote from Volunteer Toronto’s profile of Sarah in 2015. Photo by Kirk Images.   Fundraising Committee Chair – Ari WahlFundraising Committee Chair – Ari Wahl “I have a B.A. from University of Alberta (go class of ’87!) and I studied architecture at the University of Waterloo in the 1990s, which is what brought me to Ontario. I have been a professional fundraiser since 2001 and have worked at United Way, Canadian Diabetes Association, and Canadian National Institute for the Blind. I am currently working at the University of Ontario Institute for Technology as a major gifts and corporate partnerships Senior Development Officer. I was also on the board of the Inside Out Film and Video Festival for two terms and was looking for a new volunteer role.  I originally got involved with The ArQuives because I heard they were doing some great work in the community. Scott Kettles gave me a tour in Oct. 2013 and then I came on board as one of the Co-chairs, with Robert Windrum, of the Fundraising Committee. That was spring 2014. I am a firm believer in you get what you give and I am thrilled to be a volunteer at The ArQuives. It keeps me connected with our LGBT past and to the current community. I have met some amazing volunteers, donors and supporters. One of the things I have enjoyed the most is learning about our collection (ask me about the match books and air steward’s note), and also bringing on new supporters and donors to the organization.”   Operations Committee Co-Chair – Kevin ManuelOperations Committee Co-Chair – Kevin Manuel “I have a BA in Anthropology, a MA in Sociology and a Master of Library and Information Science. During my MLIS, I was a volunteer at the Pride Library at Western. I was the data librarian at Brock University before my current position as librarian for data, sociology and LGBTQ+ studies at Ryerson. In 2014, I received a Librarian Award of Excellence from Ryerson. I am also a member of the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee at Ryerson University. I am an advocate for social justice both in my professional practice and personal life. I have been an activist for LGBT right since 1990s with involvement in groups such as Coalition for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Ontario. During that same time I worked in several positions for the student Human Rights Office at my university and was chair of a student LGBT group. In 2015, I received a Teaching About Diversity grant from Ryerson and began to collaborate with The ArQuives to develop an online educational portal about LGBTQ+ communities and histories. This web-based resource will be used for teaching and learning at Ryerson but will also available to the broader public. In my current role as a Board liaison and as a chair for the Operations committee and, I aim to bring my experience as an academic librarian to enhancing the services and collections at The ArQuives. When I came out in the mid-1990s, I never imagined that someday there would be legally recognized same-sex marriage. At that time I faced discrimination and homophobia. Yet here today, I am married to my wonderful husband and surrounded by an accepting and supportive community. Looking back, LGBT people were really second-class citizens within their own country. The struggle to gain equal rights is an important story to be told and that is why I feel it is important to volunteer at The ArQuives.  The collections tell the stories from across generations and communities that are often unknown or hidden to both LGBT peoples and especially broader society. I have learned so much from the long-term volunteers who have dedicated their lives to The ArQuives. It is essential that there is a transfer of knowledge from our elders to new generations of LGBT people so about the stories of the road to equality are not forgotten.”