Vanessa Hammond: Serenity Housing Co-op


I have been volunteering for 67 years, around the world, and primarily in the health sector and with national co-op bodies. I have helped to develop and host volunteer programs and provide training for volunteers in health co-ops, small farming co-ops and have served as a board member on many occasions. I currently sit on the board of the Serenity Housing Co-op.

Serenity Housing is a “collection of Queer folk and allies who want to live interdependently in an equitable eco-friendly manner, where we all have value.” Our mission is to provide and maintain an inclusive, sustainable and affordable tiny-home housing co-operative. Building affordable housing is not an easy task, yet, by working together, I know that we can create new housing options that meet people’s needs and vision.

Through my own volunteering experiences with the Mongolian Co-op sector, I met some of the world’s best co-operators. They grasped and embraced every aspect of volunteer development and community building. I also made great friends and built wonderful memories, like when I amused my colleagues by sliding ignominiously off the back of a fun-loving yak.

If I could share one tip for people entering the workforce or changing careers or their home city, it is that volunteering is an ideal way to gain experience, knowledge and empathy. And there is immense satisfaction in volunteering, having fun, and building necessary, helpful, connections.

Learn more at