Volunteers are the glue that holds our society together.
Most of the time, they work quietly in the background and we don‘t notice them, but if they went on strike, or simply went home, life as we know it in Vernon would sputter to a stop.
“Volunteers are an integral part of our society,” said Twylla Genest, manager of volunteer services at NexusBC Community Resource Centre. “They run events such as the Terry Fox Run. They walk the dogs at the SPCA. Even our own organization – NexusBC Community Resource Centre – relies on an average of 30 plus volunteers to support our programs and services.”
British Columbia is a leading province in terms of the number of individual volunteer hours given annually: 178 (compared to a national average of 156 hours in 2010). This translates to each volunteer donating nearly four weeks out of every year to volunteer work.
“You might be surprised to know how many volunteers there are in Vernon,” said Genest. “Our services started in 2002 with 75 registered volunteers, and now have nearly 2,500 ‐ and those are just the volunteers that come through us.”
Volunteerism offers many benefits to the community, but the returns to the volunteers themselves are numerous: confidence building, new friends, broadened horizons, employment exploration, resume material, skill development, social development, self‐esteem, exiting challenges, sharing knowledge, inclusion, improved mental, emotional and physical health and so many more.
But Genest says that there is still a big need for volunteers.
“At the moment, we have 180 postings on our volunteer opportunities board. If you live in the Vernon area and have some time on your hands, we encourage you to look into volunteering, even if it’s just for one hour a week.”
NexusBC runs a weekly orientation session for those wishing to volunteer in the community. More information can be found online at www.nexusbc.ca or by phoning the Volunteer Services at NexusBC Community Resource Centre at 250-545-0585.