Recent retirees! Can you spare a few hours a week? Have a chance to chip in once a month? Looking to build your social network and help out in your community?
The Family Resource Centre for the North Okanagan partners with the Interior Health Authority Seniors Mental Health Team to help seniors in Vernon and surrounding communities stay connected and happy as they face isolation, decreased independence and other challenges. One of their greatest tools is a team of volunteers who drive clients to group events, visit with clients in their homes, and offer other forms of companionship. But with a shortage of volunteers, the Family Resource Centre is having trouble serving the community.
Can you step up?
“We can take you once a month, we can take you when it works, just give us a call and we’ll work around your schedule!” says Tracy Williamson, Coordinator of Volunteer Services for the Family Resource Centre. “We like to offer peer-to-peer support. It’s really meaningful for improving our clients’ overall wellness.”
One-to-one client work
There are lots of ways to get involved, whether you have a lot of time or a little. If you prefer to work one-on-one, you can get training to provide a friendly helping hand and a listening ear. Activities could include:
- Weekly visits in the client’s home
- Accompanying and/or driving the client to appointments and errands
- Accompanying clients to events
- Empathetic, active listening
Volunteers do not perform any personal care or housekeeping. You will not give medications, and you won’t deal with any legal, financial or property issues.
- Busy Bees: Tuesdays from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. Staff members organize and run the group, but volunteers are needed to give rides to and from the group, make reminder phone calls, assist staff with snacks and crafts, and of course chat with the busy bees!
- Wellness Group: For clients who’ve experienced depression, the Wellness Group offers strategies for improving wellness. Each week a case manager from Seniors Mental Health will give an educational presentation, followed by a social supper. The group runs every spring and fall for ten weeks. Volunteers help with menu planning, grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning up. They also get to socialize with clients, and transport clients to and from the group.
Training sessions start soon!
If you’re interested in getting involved either short-term or long-term, there’s lots of support to make sure both volunteers and clients are comfortable. Registering as a volunteer driver is easy! Fill out an application, then visit the Family Resource Centre for one-on-one training at a time that works for you. For more hands-on client work, get your application in soon for the six-session training which runs from April 2 to May 14 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Thursdays.