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In celebration of National Volunteer Week, an appreciation barbeque was held in honour of the volunteers. It was on April 26, 2013 at the Interior Savings Centre Plaza.
Kamloops is very proud of volunteers who provide important support for the benefit of society. Each year, thousands of volunteers help with tournaments and events.
Many immigrants come from countries where volunteering, which means performing a service willingly and without pay, is unusual. In Canada, it is usual, and for people of all ages and backgrounds to give back to their communities.
If you would like to get the Canadian experience that employers ask for, then please consider smart or strategic volunteering. Smart or strategic volunteering means matching your professional skills with the needs of a non-profit organization.
You can share your skills with other people while helping in the community, making new friends and building your resume with Canadian experience. The key is to focus on your transferable skills. Research a possible volunteer position to see how it will affect your long-term career goals.
Please do not allow your first culture’s possibly negative ideas about volunteering stop you from appreciating its benefits.
You can use your volunteer experience on your resume as you look for a paid position, if the experience is related to the area in which you would like to work. Volunteer experience can lead to a reference letter, and will give you more to talk about in a job interview. You can find volunteer jobs online under Volunteer Kamloops. You can also check the list of professional organizations on the www.skilledimmigrant.VPL.ca website at Vancouver Public Library.
Almost 40% of immigrants over the age of 15 volunteer an average of 162 hours per year (over 3 hours a week) (Statistics Canada 2012, Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating). They tend to volunteer in:
- international organizations, and
- hospitals (Statistics Canada, 2010, Canada Survey of Giving, Volunteering and Participating).
You and your family can volunteer as a group. If you are interested, please look at:
Building Blocks for Family Volunteering: Key Resources for Families on the volunteercanada.ca website.
Please read and listen to: You’re Never Too Young to Volunteer: A Group of Children Help Out at a Food Bank, Lesson #15, CBC Manitoba EAL Lessons.
Family volunteering can be a time a family connection, with the focus of a common interest or cause. It can be fun, entertaining, and include healthy exercise. Volunteering together allows parents and children to share special time with each other as they help the community on Saturday or Sunday. For example:
1. Your family can visit someone who is elderly and cannot drive. A family can visit weekly. Even if only one member of a family can visit in a particular week, then the housebound client can expect a visit.
2. Your family can help with a clean-up project, either for a client or for the community. There are tasks for every age and skill set.
3. Your family can help with a booth or activity at a fundraising event. The booth can be staffed, and everyone can have a break. The younger volunteers can interact with other young people who visit the booth.
Gleaning Abundance Program
Photo of Julian Coleman-Hilke courtesy of the North Shore Echo, October 9, 2013
The Gleaning Abundance Program (GAP) gathers food from local farm harvests and 200 local household gardens. Kamloops has a lot of food on trees that, if not picked, goes to waste. The GAP brings volunteers to gleaning sites free of charge. They harvest, or glean, edible fruit and vegetables and share it with food banks.
By October 8, 2013, 75 volunteers picked over 800 lbs. of fruit and donated 500 lbs. to the Kamloops Food Bank and other organizations who help low-income families, individuals, the working poor and the homeless.
Interior Community Service’s Community Kitchen is an organization that helps people in need. For example, last week at the Community Kitchen, 11 volunteers canned 87 jars of fresh tomato sauce. For more information about the GAP, please call:
Glenn Hilke, the volunteer communications coordinator, at 250-374-3858 or email@example.com.
Jessie is 90 years old. She has been a volunteer shopper in the Kamloops Seniors Outreach Society’s Seniors Shopping Program for 18 years. She goes grocery shopping with a senior or takes grocery orders over the telephone and shops for him or her. Some of her clients are 30 years younger!
Photo courtesy of Kamloops Seniors’ Outreach Society
- Senior citizens help elementary school children develop their reading skills in the classroom;
- Volunteers partner with young people who are at risk of dropping out of high school;
- Older students help new, younger students adjust to school;
- Business owners help new entrepreneurs;
- Artists help people express themselves; and
- Community volunteers help newcomers adjust to a school, workplace, neighbourhood or school.
The Snow Angels Program is organized by the Kamloops Seniors Outreach Society. It pairs volunteers with seniors or residents who have limited mobility. They need snow removal for their pathways, stairs, sidewalks and driveways so that they are clear and safe. According to organizer Harjeet Dhaliwal, more than 260 people are on the list. To learn more about the program or to volunteer, please visit www.kamseniorsoutreach.ca, call 250-828-0600 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Operation Red Nose
Operation Red Nose is a designated driving service during the holiday season, from the end of November until the beginning of January. Volunteers drive clients and their vehicles home. To volunteer, please call 250-372-8313.
There are various volunteer positions for two age groups:
- For those who are 16 years and older, there are office positions that cover dispatch, phone operations, greeting and refreshments or ehlp with promotions at events such as the Santa Claus Parade, Lights in the Night, the ORN Media Launch and Blazer Games.
- Volunteer designated drivers, escort drivers and navigators must be 19 or older.
Volunteers Creating a Safer Community
by Ashley Demedeiros, North Shore Echo, February 12, 2014
Community Safety works with the RCMP and other agencies to promote safety within our community, educating the public about crime prevention and safe practices. It has two Crime Prevention Coordinators, Athena Smith and Ingrid Brakop, and dedicated volunteers. They organize crime prevention programs.
For example, February is Distracted Driving Month, which focuses on hand-held devices, the third leading cause of fatal car crashes in B.C. Athena Smith, Crime Prevention Coordinator, and Ingrid Brakop, Road Safety Coordinator, said, “Our Speed Watch volunteers are in Kamloops on high-volume roadways. They see a variety of driver and pedestrian activities which show distracted behaviour. They educate drivers about speed, and also tell drivers that cell phone use is not okay while driving. When you are distracted behind the wheel, then your reaction time is reduced. You are 400% more likely to crash while talking on a hand-held cell phone while driving, and 230% more likely to get in a crash if you text while driving.”
The Community Safety Crime Prevention Coordinators and their volunteers work all year on crime prevention and public safety programs. This group of volunteers is extremely dedicated and cares about the community. Please consider joining this dynamic team. Call 250-828-3818 to find out more or visit the North Shore Community Police office.
Volunteering is Valued
“… Half of Canadians over the age of 15 (are) currently involved as volunteers (and they are) recognized as one of the largest voluntary sectors in the world… Canadians are generous with their time and passionate about their communities,… contributing two billion hours of volunteer time yearly, an average of 168 hours each.”
(Bridging The Gap: Enriching The Volunteer Experience To Build A Better Future For Our Communities: Summary of Findings of a Pan-Canadian Research Study by Volunteer Canada, in partnership with Manulife Financial, Carleton University Centre for Voluntary Sector Research and Development and Harris/Decima, 2013)
Riley is a student in the Human Service/ Social Work Program at Thompson Rivers University in Kamloops, BC. He enjoys helping out in the community in any way possible. He is the Vice-President of the Dwarf Athletic Association of Canada and Vice-President of the Interior Division of the Little People of BC organization.
Throughout his 23 years, Riley has volunteered in a number of ways, including as a worker at food banks in Kamloops and Kelowna, and a guest speaker promoting dwarfism awareness in schools in BC and Alberta, as well as promoting dwarfism awareness on television and radio stations, including CFJC, CHBC, Shaw, and CBC. He has also held two “Bag Groceries for a Day” fundraisers in Williams Lake, BC and Grande Prairie, AB to raise money and awareness for the Coalition of Dwarf Advocacy.
Photo courtesy of Riley Windeler
Riley is an avid member of the Little People of America organization and a passionate supporter of dwarf athletics. In the past, he has been a member of the Grasshogs and Statesmen soccer teams at the Dwarf Athletic National Games, held annually in the United States. He represented Canada at the 2013 Dwarf Athletic Association World Games in East Lansing, Michigan:
World Dwarf Games in Michigan Showcase Athletes during International Event (adapted)
By Mike Householder, The Associated Press | The Canadian Press, August 8, 2013
Riley Windeler stepped on to the stand, bowed his head and smiled from ear-to-ear as a bronze medal was placed around his neck. The 23-year-old Thompson Rivers University student from Horsefly, British Columbia, was proud of leading the Canadian volleyball team to a third-place finish. For Windeler and hundreds of athletes competing this week at the World Dwarf Games on the campus of Michigan State University, the Games are about inclusion, fellowship, athletics and competition.
“It’s amazing. You don’t get to be around little people” in this way, said Windeler, who led his team to a 25-3, 25-15 victory over a team comprised of athletes from various nations. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing.” The Games, which concluded Saturday, are held every four years. This year’s sixth installment is the largest and included more than 400 athletes. Slightly more than two-thirds are male, and they are from 23 nations. By comparison, the 2009 Games featured 250 athletes from 12 countries.
Dwarfism is a medical or genetic condition that usually results in an adult height of 4-foot-10 or shorter. Most enjoy normal intelligence, normal life spans, and reasonably good health, according to Little People of America, Inc., a national non-profit organization that provides support and information to people of short stature and their families.
Sideline Heroes Are Ready To Help
adapted from the article by Dale Bass, Kamloops This Week Staff Reporter, March 26, 2013
You see St. John Ambulance volunteers often, on the sidelines of sports events, watching and waiting. Andy Philpot appreciates the value of his 87-member brigade of first-aiders, the largest one in British Columbia. In 2012, they provided help with 305 events over 15,908 hours. Each volunteer is required to give 60 hours a year, and Andy’s group worked an average of 180 hours each.
All St. John Ambulance volunteers go through required training to the level of a medical first responder. When they are at a rodeo, concert or soccer game, they wait for the call to provide help. After they leave Kamloops, many go on to study medicine, nursing, dentistry or other fields. Andy said, “University students who move away for jobs or to start families come back to Kamloops to visit, and always stop by to see us. Usually, they tell us that they’re in a brigade where they live.”
The Power of Volunteering: Sukhjit Singh
Photo: The Power of Volunteering, Canadian Immigrant Magazine, August 2013
Adapted from The Power of Volunteering, Canadian Immigrant Magazine, August 2013
When Sukhjit Singh landed in Canada three years ago from India, he faced the difficulties of coming to a new country that are often experienced by many newcomers. He entered the circle of needing “Canadian experience” to get a job, but also needing an opportunity to get Canadian experience. “People mentioned that with a turban and beard I will not get a job and no one will even call me for an interview. And, if they call at all, after looking at me they will not hire me. But I saw a great opportunity in this situation. I was thinking that if my looks can be an obstacle; it can be a positive point for some employers as well,” said Sukhjit.
Giving back to the community and serving others is part of Sukhjit’s DNA, as evident by his career objective. He stated wanting to “work in various community serving places where they offer basic, intermediate and advanced computer courses for those who have no or little knowledge about computers”. In his search for Canadian experience and a desire to give back to the community, Sukhjit gave his time and expertise to many organizations, including Volunteer MBC, which has now become his beloved “alma mater”.
Volunteer MBC is the local volunteer centre which develops volunteerism in the Region of Peel, by raising awareness of the power of service in an effort to support and connect all people to meaningful volunteer opportunities. In 2012 alone, Volunteer MBC served more than 18,000 volunteers who were referred to over 160 community service organizations, generating nearly 2.4 million hours of volunteer support.
As Sukhjit stated, “Meaningful volunteer work can give you an insight of how things work in Canada. Once you are in a position to give back to the community, do that as soon as possible and make this a habit.” In April 2013, he was recognized for his exemplary efforts and voluntary achievements with Volunteer MBC’s Newcomer Gem Volunteer Award at their 2nd Annual Volunteer Recognition Awards Event.
As Sukhjit will attest, volunteering gives newcomers the opportunity to:
- connect with their community,
- raise their profile with prospective employers and contacts,
- build their self-esteem and confidence and, at the same time,
- hone their interpersonal skills to make them employment ready for the very competitive Canadian job market.
We congratulate the efforts and applaud the outstanding achievements that Sukhjit has accomplished in three short years, from being unemployed to becoming one of the Top 25 Canadian Immigrants. He is a model of success for not only newcomersbut all Canadians, young and old, who want to move forward in their careers and lives. Carine Strong, Executive Director of Volunteer MBC and a fellow newcomer, commented, “Sukhjit’s positive outlook and his accomplishments are an inspiration to all of us. He has taken ownership of his destiny using his skill sets to help others, but realizes all too well that he is helping himself in the process, creating a win-win for all stakeholders”.
See it! Try it! Do it!
May 10, 2013
The See It! Try It! Do It! Program provides students aged 9 – 12 with the opportunity to participate in activities that help students build self- confidence, gain valuable life-skills, and form healthy habits.
The City of Kamloops and School District 73 look to local volunteers to continue offering this program in our community. Volunteers are needed once a week for five weeks to teach an activity. Activities have included:
hip hop dance,
yoga and more.
The program is open to suggestions and ideas, and can include any sport, cultural or recreational activity. For example:
See It, Try It! Synchronized Swimming Classes @ The Canada Games Aquatic Centre
June 8, 2013
The Kamloops Sun Rays Synchronized Swimming Club is offering a free class to girls who are interested in trying synchro swimming. The class will take place from 12-1pm.
If you are interested in volunteer experience and making a difference for children in our community, please contact Ben Chobater at email@example.com by May 24, 2013.
Ben Chobater, City of Kamloops
Volunteer at the Kamloops Regional Farmers’ Market
Are you enthusiastic about the Kamloops’ Regional Farmers’ Market? Help out as a volunteer for as little as 5 hours a month. Volunteer efforts are recognized with produce and baking donations from vendors. Are you interested?
Deanna Hurstfield, Saturday Manager firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-682-7975
Wendy Makepeace, Wednesday Manager email@example.com or call 250-318-7254
We make a living by what we do,
but we make a life by what we give.
705 Seymour Street, Kamloops
Tuesdays through Fridays, 9 am to 4 pm
Each month, the Volunteer Kamloops website receives up to 500 visitors. The office refers about 60 people per month to various organizations in town.
Categories of Volunteer Opportunities:
Arts & Crafts
Counseling & Guidance
Kitchen/ Food Services
Volunteerism is a very important part of Canadian life and citizenship. Volunteering builds community and is a way to integrate into the culture. Volunteers improve many areas of the community, making a difference and connections. As a volunteer, you can:
- Participate in training opportunities
- Meet new people and make new friends
- Find out about community services
- Gain practical knowledge about Canadian workplaces
- Add Canadian experience to your resume
- Increase your understanding of Canadian culture
(Building Blocks for Newcomers: A Guide on Volunteering, by Melanie Hientz and Paula Speevak Sladowski, Volunteer Canada and Manulife Financial)
Each of these benefits can help you in your job search.
People can volunteer in more than one area (please see above and below). For example, retired teachers and others volunteer with new immigrants to help with language skills development.
Volunteer Kamloops Member Organizations:
Adaptive Sports at Sun Peaks
Afternoon Auxiliary at Royal Inland Hospital
Arnica Artist Run Centre
B.C. Cowboy Heritage Society
BCSPCA- Kamloops Branch
BC Wildlife Park
Big Brothers Big Sisters
BIG Little Science Centre
Boys & Girls Club
Canadian Red Cross
Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, BC/Yukon
Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Mental Health Association
Canucks Autism Network
Centre for Seniors Information
CFBX Campus Community Radio
Elizabeth Fry Society
Eureka Science Program
Girl Guides of Canada
Habitat for Humanity Restore
Heart and Stroke Foundation
Interior Community Services
Interior Indian Friendship Centre
Interior Metis Child & Family Services
John Howard Society
Kamloops Art Council
Kamloops Art Gallery
Kamloops Bear Aware BC
Kamloops Brain Injury Association
Kamloops & District Seniors Outreach Services
Kamloops Heritage RailwayKamloops Immigrant Services
Kamloops Victim Services Unit
Kamloops Search & Rescue
Kamloops Special Olympics
Kamloops Society for Community Living
Kamloops Wildlife Park
New Life Mission
One-to-One Children’s Literacy Program
Open Door Group
Ovarian Cancer Canada
Overlander Residential Care
Overlander Ski Club
People in Motion
Royal Inland Hospital
St. John’s Ambulance
The Salvation Army
Thompson Rivers University
• The Kiwanis Club of Downtown Kamloops meets for lunch at noon every Tuesday in the Desert Gardens, 540 Seymour Street; guests are welcome. Interested people may consider this a standing invitation to join us.
Contact: Peter Mutrie: (250) 372-0075
• The Kiwanis Club of Kamloops meets on Thursday evenings.
Contact Doug Button: (250) 314-0545
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 544, Main Postal Station, Kamloops V2C5L2
1636 Goodwin Avenue, Kamloops BC V2B 4K7
Contact: Bill Jackson, 250-376-6326 or 250-828-2897
101 – 1103 12th Street, Kamloops BC V2B 8A6
Contact: Laura Plummer, 250-851-8360
919 Schreiner Street, Kamloops BC V2B 5V8
Contact: John Radmacher, 250-376-8364
- Rotary (Rotary Club of Kamloops West) meets every Thursday at 11:55 AM at Viewpoint Restaurant, 610 Columbia Street West, Kamloops, BC. On the website, you can send an email inquiry to Suzanne McCloy.
Free Buffet Family Dinner Nights
March 12 and 25; April 16 and 30; May 14 and 27, 2014 from 5 pm until 7 pm
North Shore Echo, March 5, 2014
The Rotary Club of Kamloops is hosting free family dinners at NorKam Secondary School on the North Shore. The dinners are for those who are facing challenges, or just need a night off from cooking dinner. It is a buffet-style dinner, along with games and door prizes. They are open to families and children 17 and under. To volunteer or donate, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-574-0474.
- Thompson Rivers University’s School of Business has a volunteer organization, ENACTUS (Dr. Shahriar Hasan [School of Business and Economics, Department of Accounting and Finance], faculty advisor), email@example.com or Ms. Acacia Schmietenknop, 2013 President of Enactus).
Going beyond business by empowering individuals to redefine their lives.
- Thompson Rivers Consulting: TRU upper-level students and teachers help businesses, new start-ups and non-profit organizations to succeed.
- Toolbox is a new program to focus on tradespeople who want to start their own businesses.
- Thompson Rivers Consulting: No-cost consulting for helping small businesses, non-profit organizations and student entrepreneurs succeed.
- LiveFree: Teaches business concepts and fraud awareness to brain injury survivors and mental health patients.
Learning Entrepreneurship by Advancing Participants (LEAP) Seminars
Leadership management program that is open to everyone in Enactus; however, every executive member and program manager must complete the training before he or she is allowed to be in a leadership position.
TRU also has Service Learning (Ms. Wendy Krauza, faculty advisor, firstname.lastname@example.org).
Look at these volunteering websites:
• The Institute for Canadian Citizenship
• CharityVillage.ca and
For References, please go to the Kamloops Education section.
Kamloops Immigrant Services does not endorse and is not responsible for the content of external website sources. Although we have made every effort to ensure the accuracy, currency and reliability of the content, Kamloops Immigrant Services accepts no responsibility in that regard. Informational materials are for educational purposes only, and are of general value.