The idea of a volunteer centre, helping to recruit and organize volunteers, began as a dream a decade ago, and though it took a few years to put together, the idea took off and thrived.
“We were registered as a society in 2010,” said Wendy Weisner, executive director of the South Okanagan Similkameen Volunteer Centre. “We started at zero, because there wasn’t a volunteer centre in the community.”
In those early days, she said, there were 13 or 14 organizations involved in getting the volunteer centre off the ground. They now have more than 40 organizations signed up and 800 volunteers registered.
That’s more than some volunteer centres in larger communities, Weisner said, noting that a similar group in a Lower Mainland city has 500 volunteers registered.
Those participating organizations are featured in the volunteer centre’s latest publication of ways to help out, which they will be releasing at the Okanagan Healthy Living Fair on March 11.
“Many residents who register as a volunteer with the South Okanagan Similkameen Volunteer Centre have skills and experience needed to fill volunteer roles. This publication helps potential volunteers self-identify where they can apply their talents to address important economic and social issues in our communities,” said Mike Potgieter, president of the volunteer centre.
Opportunities to volunteer include volunteering to facilitate informational workshops for specific health concerns such as Alzheimer and Arthritis. Open volunteer positions also include helping families in need, supporting the environment and arts groups, fostering and caring for distressed animals, helping improve literacy, cooking up connections with seniors and helping out at events and festivals.