April’s budget announced the loss of funding for the Community Access Plan (CAP) – and with it, the loss of valuable Youth Interns at ValleyLinks, home of Volunteer Comox Valley.
These youth worked integral jobs that aided the community in digital literacy, community connectivity and promoting volunteerism. When we announced that the Youth had been laid off — there was an outcry in the Comox Valley. This feedback was a welcomed reminder of how valued Youth Interns are in our organization and in the lives of the clients they serve.
ValleyLinks would like to thank everyone for being patient and understanding through this transition phase — and are happy to announce that the youth will be coming back as early as September through the Youth Internship Initiative!
Youth Interns will be returning to a fresh-faced and rejuvenated ValleyLinks to work new and exciting jobs in the fields of technology and community development. Of course, the strength and skills of young people come as no surprise to ValleyLinks — the return of the Youth Interns in September will mean many new programs and services, as well as returning favorites.
ValleyLinks is a fluid organization, in that it is ever-changing and evolving to better suit the needs of its clients, member organizations, and the community at large. This change also includes no longer providing Police Record Checks, which can still be completed at the RCMP, and remains a free service for volunteers.
“The RCMP has assured us that they will continue supporting community volunteerism and will not be charging for the processing of Police Record Checks for volunteer purposes,” says ValleyLinks director of member services Adda Vallevand. “It has been our pleasure to provide this service to our local voluntary sector organizations for the past eight years.
“We remain committed to supporting our member organizations in achieving their goals and succeeding in their missions.”
The focus of Valleylinks will now be on servicing the local community — and the volunteer organizations within it.
ValleyLinks is also looking into expanding our member services, and assuring that the services we currently provide are being utilized to their fullest potential. One of these services is the Volunteer Directory on www.valleylinks.net.
Tyler Voigt, who helped develop the directory, says: “The Volunteer Directory is essentially a matchmaking system, what makes it different than other directories is that a regular directory is just for listing information — our Volunteer Directory does much more than that. It is a dynamic matchmaking system similar to social networking sites, that helps volunteers find placement within an organization.”
“Roughly 150 organizations have profiles on our directory – and this month alone, 3,000 potential volunteers have viewed our directory. I provide technical support, if someone has issues signing up or utilizing the website.”
Community input is important to Valleylinks — if you have a recommendation for the Volunteer Directory, they would love to hear from you.
Despite the loss of CAP funding, ValleyLinks is looking forward to yet another year of successfully serving the community. At ValleyLinks’ recent annual general meeting, executive director Bev Campbell explained just how much ValleyLinks had accomplished this year in easy to comprehend (although astoundingly awesome) numerical values.
“More than 3,000 (volunteers) served through VCV (Volunteer Comox Valley). More than 4,000 recorded visits to our computer lab. 46 Youth Internships in the Vancouver Island Region. 49 CAP Sites supported in the Island’s Community Network,” she said.
“The Operation Red Nose program provided 557 safe rides home (during the holidays). Three million hits on valleylinks.net. Development of a new Mission Statement and Strategic Plan, both will focus efforts on a clear path of community leadership.
“The year ahead will be a year of focus on local programming and outcomes, education programs and supports to our volunteer centre membership. The society is redefining its role in our community. The year ahead promises to be one of challenge and no doubt triumph as ValleyLinks maintains its focus on the strengths it brings to this community and to the youth of Vancouver Island.”
For more information, visit the website, drop by the office at 532 Fifth St. in Courtenay or phone 250-334-8063.