22 May 2018 0 Comments Posted By : Justin Skinner

New online hub gives young Toronto professionals a way to give back

Dozens of not-for-profits have already signed up for the service

Upon moving back to Toronto after graduating from Queen’s University a couple of years ago, Alexander Carbone wanted to find a way to volunteer his time and give back to those in need. The problem was, he didn’t know where to look to ensure his skills were being put to good use.

Seeing a niche to be filled, Carbone started up the Toronto Professional Volunteers’ Hub (TPVH) earlier this year. On the site, young professionals from all walks of life can link up with not-for-profit organizations to share their talents.

“Young professionals want to give back, but they want to give back in a way that lets them use and develop their skills,” said the downtown Toronto resident. “You have people who are social media savvy, who have event planning skills or leadership skills and they want to be able to use those skills.”

The site allows not-for-profits and young professionals to create accounts and search to find the best fits.

“It’s almost like a real estate listing service,” Carbone said.

While Carbone himself graduated with a commerce degree, the TPVH casts a wide net, with volunteers coming from a wide variety of fields. Those who sign up are between 22 and 30 years of age — at a point where they are just starting their careers and have some free time to give to groups that need help.

“We have people from the tech field, business, health care … everyone has skills they can use and there are a lot of great organizations that need people with those skills,” Carbone said.

Managing a not-for-profit’s online presence through social media is one of the most in-demand opportunities, he noted, which is ideal for young people who know platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn inside and out.

Ibrahim Ashqar, co-founder of not-for-profit SettleIn, said the TPVH was a great help as he and his partners worked to get their organization off the ground. SettleIn partners Toronto university students with mentors to help them find career success, and while it charges a small fee to those students, the money it brings in will go toward sponsoring refugee families.

“It was so helpful to have access to people in so many fields,” he said. “We had been looking for people with various skill sets — consulting, finance, the tech world.”

While the TPVH is a new venture, Carbone said growth has been quick. Over the course of a few short months, he has had roughly 50 not-for-profits sign up, along with hundreds of volunteers. For the time being, he is keeping the venture strictly focused on the Greater Toronto Area.

“There are so many opportunities here in the city for young professionals, and the goal is to build things up as much as possible,” he said. “We want young people to see that, yes, these opportunities do exist.”

For more information on the Toronto Professional Volunteers’ Hub, or to create an account as a volunteer or not-for-profit, visit www.tpvh.ca.

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