VOLUNTEER TALK - Long time Sylvan Lake resident and volunteer Klaas Vanveller and Jody Davis

Examining FCSS in Sylvan Lake – Part Four: Volunteer Centre acts as catalyst for community

What’s better than getting to work alongside those whose sole goal is to benefit the lives of others you might ask?

What’s better than getting to work alongside those whose sole goal is to benefit the lives of others you might ask?

According to Jody Davis, coordinator of the Volunteer Centre operated out of the Sylvan Lake Community Centre by Family and Community Support Services (FCSS), nothing is better than watching people selflessly dedicate themselves to their communities.

The Volunteer Centre has a long standing history in Sylvan Lake and has worked to provide all organizations in the community a means to engage volunteers.

“Quite often people know they want to help out in the community but they don’t know how or where to go to get connected to organizations in areas they are passionate about,”she explained. ““The Volunteer Centre is an organization that supports the entire community we help organizations to recruit and support volunteers.”

The Volunteer Centre plays an active role in helping organizations to not only recruit but also screen or manage volunteers.

Davis accounts a recent success story in which the Centre was successful in connecting a large number of volunteers during this year’s Yuletide Festival.

When Davis began with the Centre earlier this year she implemented a new strategy to help grow the level of connection between various organizations and volunteers in the form of an e-newsletter. The fun filled and informative e-newsletters get sent to all registered volunteers letting them know about the organizations and events seeking volunteer contributions.

“We want to connect our volunteers with all of the different wonderful opportunities in our town,” said Davis on the new connection technique. “There are always different experiences available in the community.

“When people see all of the good work that is going on in the community they want to be involved and we saw that as we shared stories in our letters of the incredible contributions made by volunteers at the Yuletide Festival and the numbers just kept growing.”

Over the course of 2015 Davis witnessed an increase from 21 registered volunteers to a staggering 64.

She attributes much of the recent growth to the increased connectivity and encourages all organizations who are looking for volunteers to submit content to the newsletter.

As for a new volunteers initial arrival to the Volunteer Centre, Davis explained they will fill out an application identifying what type of volunteer role they are looking for, what their time commitments are, as well as some of their background. Volunteers are also required to have a criminal record check conducted along with a vulnerable sector screening as part of the what Davis referred to as the ‘on boarding process’.

New volunteers then meet with Davis where they converse on what the volunteer’s end goals are and where their passions truly lie.

“We want people to have a meaningful volunteer experience that engages them that way they enjoy the opportunity to the fullest,”she added.

Davis tries first to organize a connection between existing volunteer opportunities, however she added if there are no options that she feels would best fit the volunteer, then in the past she has reached out to organizations to see if there is a way the volunteer can help them.

She added the Volunteer Centre and the 64 incredible volunteers are a fantastic environment to be around and she encourages residents of Sylvan Lake and area to visit her at theCommunity Center for more information.



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