The South Okanagan Volunteer Centre are distributing their new publication of volunteer opportunities in the region at the Health Fair on March 11.

The South Okanagan Volunteer Centre are distributing their new publication of volunteer opportunities in the region at the Health Fair on March 11.

Volunteer centre continues to grow

The South Okanagan Volunteer Centre has a new publication listing hundreds of opportunities.

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.

Just having their group show up in the volunteer centre’s listing is an added draw for some organizations, according to Weisner.

“They like to be part of our network,” she said.

Weisner said a good part of the Volunteer Centre’s success has to do with the volunteers who contribute their time to running it noting that they have had enthusiastic and energetic board members, in the past, like Sharon Evans of the Mental Wellness Centre who was a contributor from the beginning, both on the board and as president.

“You can’t have an organization like this without a great board,” Weisner said.

Copies of the 2017 Volunteer Opportunities publication will be available at the Volunteer Centre’s exhibit during the Healthy Living Fair, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. Register as a volunteer during the Fair, and enter your name for a draw to win a gift basket compliments of Total Restoration Services.

For information on volunteering or to register as a volunteer on-line, visit the SOS Volunteer Centre’s website at www.volunteercentre.info, call 1-888-576-5661 or e-mail info@volunteercentre.info.