News & Media


National Volunteer Week 2021: Navigating COVID-19

No doubt we have all faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear from Atira's Coordinator, Volunteers and Practicums to learn more about the shift to remote support and what our volunteers have been up to in the past year!

We would like to use this National Volunteer Week to thank all of our amazing and dedicated volunteers! The ones who have been supporting us from home, the few who braved COVID, PPE and social distancing challenges to come into our programs and support the women who access Atira in person, and to those who haven’t been able to volunteer with us for the last year, even though they wanted to!

We couldn’t do the work we do without the support of our extraordinary volunteers, so from me, and everyone at Atira, thank you so much for all the work that you have done, and are continuing to do for the women accessing our services!


“2020 was difficult for all of us, but even during such trying times, our volunteers still found time to give back to their communities.”


Since March of last year, we have had to pause almost all of our in-person volunteering. Our volunteer-run book clubs, choirs, beauty nights, community kitchens, yoga classes and many other wonderful activities have been put on hold until we can all meet in groups again safely. Even though some of these activities have taken a minor break, volunteers have still been able to support women in the community through remote opportunities in a number of our programs:


More than 40 volunteers have worked day and night to answer our COVID-19 call-in line, which has been running 24/7 since March 2020. Our volunteers support the women who call by giving them information about resources, organizing food or medication deliveries to their homes, listening to their stories and in many other ways.

Legal Advocacy

Another program that has always relied heavily on volunteer support is our Legal Advocacy program. We always have between six and 14 volunteer and practicum students who support our staff lawyers in so many different ways. Together they cover our intake desk, schedule appointments, make referrals, research legal matters, write memos and our lawyer volunteers also represent clients. All these volunteers used to work together in-person at our drop-in office in the Downtown Eastside, but since March 2020, they have been working remotely from home and have found a way to continuously support the women who seek legal aid.

Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA)

Lastly, we do still have some in-person volunteers in the one program that couldn’t run without them. At Enterprising Women Making Art (EWMA), we have over 15 volunteers and peer support workers who teach a variety of workshops for women accessing the studio in the Downtown Eastside. These volunteers also take the time to manage and run our EWMA shop, where women can sell their own art to earn an additional income.


To the volunteers at these three programs and all of our other programs, again a huge THANK YOU! You have supported so many different women over the last year and we are forever grateful to you for that! Here’s to hoping that we can all come together in-person again soon to celebrate your contribution to the Atira family. Until then, know that we see all the hard work you do weather that is in our programs or from your home!

Stay safe and healthy <3

Atira Coordinator, Volunteers and Practicums

See what SOME volunteers have to say about their work at Atira!