Impacting the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners is an ambitious task, but Vicki Douvalis is willing to take on the challenge. Volunteering with the London Public Library (LPL) that had over 2.8 million visits in 2015, and Museum London, she’s been able to create connections that enrich lives, inspire discovery, foster creativity and expand possibilities.
In December 2014, Douvalis was appointed to the London Public Library Board as a representative of the City of London. The Board’s aim is to provide comprehensive and efficient public library service that reflects the community's unique needs. Realizing the impact LPL has on the community inspired her to join the Property and Finance Committee at Museum London. Between the two, Douvalis has been a part of the hundreds of thousands of Londoners impacted by their services.
“Bridging the inequality gaps across the city is important to overcoming barriers, and London Public Library and Museum London are trying to achieve that,” Douvalis said. “Volunteering is a vital part of their operations and I’m passionate about helping them achieve these goals,” she added.
Helping bridge these gaps, LPL provides a quiet study space for students, free Internet access, art exhibits and home visits for Londoners who are unable to use the regular facilities, among a list of other services.
The personal stories the Board receives every quarter from members on how they’ve been impacted by LPL services is a reminder of just how prevalent community-wide challenges are. From families of six who would otherwise be unable to access the Internet due to rising costs, to helping newcomers to London integrate into the city, LPL helps ease the pressure. While Douvalis says there is no simple solution, staff and volunteers have helped implement initiatives to help solve complex issues such as illiteracy, poverty, unemployment and homelessness.
Witnessing the difference non-profit organizations like LPL and Museum London make in Londoner’s lives has taught Douvalis the importance of giving back.
“Although it sounds cliché, I believe that you get more out of it than you give. Learning more about yourself, you are able to recognize the important aspects of life both personally and professionally,” she explained.
Douvalis believes that there’s a volunteering position for everyone – it’s just about finding the right fit.
“When you find a cause or an organization that you’re passionate about you’re not just going through the motions, you’re actually engaged and enjoy what you’re doing,” said Douvalis. “I think if you can find that, it makes volunteering easy because giving back to the community is essential to building a stronger city.”
To learn more about volunteer opportunities at Western and in London you can visit: