Grassroots Community Organizing

  • College/Shaw Library 766 College Street Toronto, ON, M6G 1C4 Canada

Grassroots activists and organizers are often volunteer managers even when they don't realize it. This panel will explore two critical elements of traditional volunteer management best practices, in a grassroots context: being organized and efficient with coordinating volunteer activity, and creating an environment of dialogue in your group that builds rapport and trust with volunteers.

People are power. As such, a grassroots group's success is defined by the people who strive to accomplish its mission. By definition, grassroots groups are is a teams of individuals volunteering their time to achieve something that they are collectively passionate about. Dedication, motivation, and passion for a cause are often the driving force behind the people who volunteer for an organization.

Grassroots Community Organizing comprises of successful grassroots leaders who have experienced various challenges through the course of their respective organizations' growth.


  • Kelly Harbour, Community Engagement Coordinator at Volunteer Toronto and Commissioner for Flags of Glory, the women's division of the Toronto Queer Football League

  • Salomeh Ahmadi, Founder of Rexdale Lab and Program Facilitator at Pathways Education

  • Alicks Girowski, Volunteer Manager at HotDocs and Director of Operations at JAYU
  • Rudayna Bahubeshi, Development at Women in Toronto Politics and Community Engagement at Inspirit Foundation

Moderated by Jessica Pang-Parks, Events Lead at Parkview Neighbourhood Garden and Education Coordinator at Volunteer Toronto (Grassroots Growth Project)

Register now on Eventbrite.


More information about the panelists


Kelly Harbour, Flags of Glory & Toronto Gay Football League

Kelly Harbour is a Community Engagement Coordinator for Volunteer Toronto. She is an engaged community leader for grassroots organized sports in the LGBT community.  She is involved with two football grassroots groups – the Toronto Gay Football League, and Flags of Glory. In both these groups, she views on volunteer management from two different lenses – as a coordinator and as a board member.



Salomeh Ahmadi, free'Scool, art'Scool & Rexdale Lab

Salomeh is currently working in the non-profit field with Pathways to Education as a Program Facilitator. She is also currently pursuing her MBA with a focus on organizational behavior and financial aptitude. From her work experience and education, she has learned how to adapt theory into practice and employ effective engagement strategies with members of the community to get involved in grassroots organizations. These foundations allowed her to successfully start up three grassroots groups (free’Scool, art’Scool, and Rexdale Lab) and continuously support other groups.


Alicks Girowski, JAYU

Alicks Girowski is a skilled professional with over ten years of event and volunteer management. She launched the London Ontario Live Arts Festival (LOLA) in 2006, where she served as General Manager from 2006-2010. As Music Director (2002-2010) at 94.9 CHRW, she recruited volunteers and trained them in broadcasting techniques, radio and event production, and new music, in addition to securing new partnerships and collaborating with cultural organizations in the city.

Alicks has been part of the Volunteer Resources and the Exhibitions team for TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) where she recruited and trained 2,300 volunteers annually. She currently works at Hot Docs, managing volunteers for the annual festival and for year-round operations at the Bloor.

In 2012, Alicks joined JAYU, a human rights organization, as Director of Operations where she currently secures funding and is a key member in year-round programming and operational decisions.


Rudayna Bahubeshi, Inspirit Foundation

Rudayna Bahubeshi is the Communications Manager at the Inspirit Foundation. She is a passionate social justice advocate and city builder who always asks who is at the table and who is missing? Rudayna has led programming and communications in the non-profit and grassroots sector for several years with organizations including Women in Toronto Politics, The Natural Step Canada, Engineers Without Borders,, and Impact Hub Ottawa. Rudayna is deeply interested in civic engagement and building a more inclusive civic discourse. She is a CivicAction DiverseCity Fellow and a Youth Advisor with the Wellesley Institute.