WELLINGTON COUNTY – The People and Information Network (PIN) is looking to increase engagement within the county.
The non-profit social services organization based in Guelph helps connect Guelph and Wellington residents with organizations or resources and maintains a network to connect volunteers with charities in need of help.
The organization has existed since 2001, formerly as the Volunteer Centre of Guelph-Wellington.
About 31 per cent of its membership is located in or provides service in Wellington County.
Program coordinator Kim Cusimano said not having a physical presence in the county makes it difficult to keep people aware of PIN.
“It is difficult for very slim non-profits and charities to be everywhere,” she said.
The organization’s recent move from 46 Cork Street East to Old Quebec Street Shoppes in Guelph will help increase awareness in the city.
“What we are hoping for that is that it attracts a different or an increased visibility to the organization because many people will come here for … Guelph Storm games or the new Night Hawks team … (or) for appointments,” Cusimano said.
Some well-known organizations in the county are members of PIN, including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Centre Wellington, the Wellington Terrace and East Wellington Community Services (EWCS), but PIN is looking to connect Wellington residents with more resources and opportunities.
“We want to see how can we help to spread that message so people know that they can access our community information database for free, they can look for volunteer opportunities for free – that is a service that that’s available to them,” said Cusimano.
There is an annual membership fee of $196 to be a PIN member organization.
Being a member of PIN has been “fantastic” for EWCS, according to Barb Carscadden, manager of volunteer engagement and transportation services.
The organization is constantly in need of volunteer drivers to meeting the health care, transportation and social service needs of Guelph-Eramosa and Erin residents.
“[PIN is] one place where they read about our need for drivers,” Carscadden said. “If we didn’t have volunteer drivers we actually would not have transportation in this whole area.”
PIN also provides networking opportunities, which Carscadden said has helped her gain valuable experience.
“I have been a member … [of the PIN] manager’s network for, I believe five years, so it’s just a great place for volunteer managers to get together and exchange ideas and different strategies and share resources on how they recruit volunteers,” Carscadden said.
PIN welcomes residents of Guelph and Wellington County to call or stop in at its office to discuss resources and opportunities.
“At the end of the day what we want is we connect people with information and whether that information is an immediate need that they don’t know where to turn to in their community for an essential human service,” said Cusimano.
For more information visit https://pinnetwork.ca or call 519-822-0912.