Volunteering: The grassroots of philanthropy

Plenty of ways to give back to the community

  • Nov. 16, 2015 9:00 a.m.
Executive director of Volunteer Comox Valley Tyler Voigt along with (left to right) Tabitha Shaw (Youth Take Action program director)

Executive director of Volunteer Comox Valley Tyler Voigt along with (left to right) Tabitha Shaw (Youth Take Action program director)

Erin Haluschak

Record staff

 

Giving back to humankind. Feeling connected; finding a passion.

Those are all descriptions Tyler Voigt explains why people volunteer, and is the very nature of philanthropy.

“The activity itself (volunteering) is dependent upon the person’s own empathic capacity … we make sure it’s going to work for you,” notes the executive director of Volunteer Comox Valley, an organization whose mission is to be an agent of change, which promotes community engagement through the power of service.

Voigt explains the organization came together in 1997 as there were people in the community looking to volunteer, but didn’t know where to turn.

They now have an office, located at 450 Eighth St., which allows people from various backgrounds with different skills to be matched with either a one-time or ongoing volunteer position within the Valley.

“We do have a heavily-engaged demographic,” Voigt says, but quickly adds 10 per cent of volunteers contribute to 50 per cent of volunteers’ hours. He adds many are seniors – 65 and older –  and generally those from the baby boomer generation are seeking more skills-based opportunities.

“With trade-based opportunities, they are generally more one-time events, such as being an electrician at MusicFest. These are very popular in the Comox Valley, especially in the summer with festival after festival.”

While many retirees are seeking more consistent volunteer opportunities, he cites many one-time events are very useful to dispel the myth that youth are apathetic towards volunteering and philanthropy.

“The more experience you have in life, generally the more likely you are to contribute to a volunteer cause, but we look at what you feel passionate about. We make sure it’s going to work for you.”

Voigt says there are around 130 volunteer opportunities available through VCV and whether  individuals want to volunteer for a specific group or service, or are looking to expand their skills and feel engaged, volunteer advisors will aid in matching the volunteer with the right opportunity.

Jessica Dawson, media outreach co-ordinator and a volunteer with VCV for six years, says volunteering has allowed her to feel as though she is contributing to her community.

Dawson is disabled and as a result, relies on her husband, who is her full-time caregiver, along with other supports to help her with daily tasks.

“Even though I have a disability, I ended up feeling very useful. I grew up with a strong work ethic, and I’m helping to make the community a better place.”

She says through volunteering, she has gained workplace experience skills, and is building relationships and friendships which she adds are “lasting and rewarding. I feel like they’re my family.”

Dawson encourages anyone to volunteer, even those who are still in school or between jobs, as volunteering allows anyone to gain work experience and skills.

“It’s great because it fills in gaps on your resume. A person can be helping the community, and in return, it’s helping them with their career.”

She agrees with Voigt that it’s best to find a position that matches a passion, but says a volunteer can try a variety of different positions with different organizations to find the best fit.

“(Everyone has) a certain amount of time to volunteer, and any work you put in will be appreciated. There’s so many volunteer positions, you might be missing out if you try just one.”

She notes volunteering in any capacity is exciting, good for the local economy and “the opportunities to make a difference are endless.

“Not everyone has money to donate, but what is more valuable to a person than time? It’s like planting a seed that will grow.”

Volunteer advisors at VCV are trained at assessing an individuals’ needs and skills to ensure the process of becoming a volunteer and what it means to the community.

Appointment times are available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday. VCV also accepts applications from non-profit groups that are in need of volunteers.

For more information or to volunteer, visit www.volunteercomoxvalley.ca.

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

An Island Health nurse prepares a dose of COVID-19 vaccine. (Photo courtesy Island Health)
Health authority opening 19 clinics to immunize Vancouver Island residents

Health authority anticipates more than 40,000 people will be immunized over the next month

Cumberland council is backing the business association again. File photo
Cumberland backs homeless veteran count

Briefs: Council continues support for business association

Courtenay Nissan’s Matthew Bourassa, Geoff Piper and Sean LaFleur join YANA’s Ashley Smith, Kelly Rusk and Lisa Wilcox for the 4x4x48 event to raise funds. Photo by Mike Chouinard
Courtenay Nissan eats and runs for YANA

Dealership realized non-profit groups need new ways to raise funds during COVID

Rev. Sulin Milne at St. Peter’s Anglican Church in Comox is part of those helping distribute food to those in need within the town. Photo by Jim Peacock
Comox church serving the community with food through COVID-19

“We knew there were so many people who were facing economic challenges …”

Cole Moore with one of his sisters, Jasmin Moore. Photo supplied
Courtenay man looks to brain surgery for second chance

Cole Moore’s sister sets up GoFundMe to help father looking after brother

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

The Port Alice pulp mill has been dormant since 2015. (North Island Gazette file photo)
Parts recycled, life returning to inlet as as old Port Alice mill decommissioned

Bankruptcy company oversees de-risking the site, water treatment and environmental monitoring

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Most Read