June 14, 2017
More than the other Gulf Islands, I know Salt Spring Island, BC the best but I suspect all of the islands have many, many volunteers.
I remember some of the volunteers on Salt Spring were busy each day of the week provided their free services to as many different island organizations.
I have mixed feeling about this as I believe paying work is often not available to those who need it because of the wonderful services provided by volunteers.
But volunteering is certainly not going away on the islands.
The following article has a sort of ‘coming of age’ theme, I think. When volunteers, like the ones on the Penders, have to ask what volunteer services are needed, it seems to me that the community has grown to point that it wants to be more organized. This is, after all, what volunteers do. Events and groups start to run more smoothly with good and willing volunteers.
Here is the piece:
Gulf Island Driftwood — Pender Islands Edition
August 9, 2000
Questionnaire pinpoints services needed
by Tanya Lester
Islanders whose mailboxes do not have a “junk mail” exemption have probably already received a questionnaire from the Pender Islands Community Volunteer Program.
The questionnaire asks for residents’ assistance in pinpointing the five most important areas in which volunteers are needed to help fill gaps in the delivery of local services.
Research in putting the survey together and doing other work to help start a volunteer bureau has been aided by an $11,000 grant from Involve BC, a wing of the Ministry of Community Development, Cooperatives and Volunteers.
Carol Stewart, Pender Island Community Volunteer Program manager, first conducted a preliminary needs assessment before developing the questionnaire.
She asked about 30 people to tell her what they thought was the most important area in which volunteers are needed.
Those people ranged from caregivers, volunteer service providers, health and social service professionals as well as involved community members.
Jean Rogers, a long-time island volunteer honoured with awards for her work, is one of the people with whom Stewart is working closely.
“We’re trying very hard to fit in with the community and how things are done on Pender,” said Stewart, who feels that making a switch from informal volunteering to training individuals in more specific roles might take a while to fully accept.
Stewart said the Penders have lots to draw on in the way of volunteers.
“There are marvelous people,” she said. “We are very rich in that sense.”
The focus will be on matching volunteers to specific areas.
The questionnaire lists these areas under six headings including children and families, alternate school, teens, people aged 30 to 50, seniors and general.
Stewart insists that volunteers will serve to enhance work already done by employed individuals and will not be picking up the slack due to recent home support decreases and other government cutbacks.
Robert Dill agrees. He applied for the Involve BC grant as Pender Island Health Care Society executive director.
Dill said the grant, which was approved in February, was $3000 less than requested.
That money, along with a Capital Health Region grant, will employ Stewart under contract for a year.
Her assistant is Clare Mathias.
Stewart and Mathias had a table at the Farmers’ Market last Saturday and will also be at the Fall Fair on…..
They will have questionnaires available for anyone who did not receive them in the mail.
After the end-of-the-month deadline set to complete and return the forms, Stewart will be tabulating the results.
Then the next step will be to slowly recruit and train volunteers. “We’re going to have to start gently and build up,” said Stewart.