KCR crew

KCR: That’s a wrap on 2021!

KCR Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

For me, the end of the year is always a good time to reflect on lessons of the past year, show gratitude for the joys and build on experiences and knowledge gained in the coming year. So this week, I thought I would reflect on the past 8 months of working in partnership with the Kelowna Capital News to bring you, our lovely readers, the stories of volunteers and non-profit organizations that are doing such incredible work. This is a sweet part of my job as I get to be nosy and ask people lots of questions and then get to share their unique journeys, their passions and their hearts. It’s a natural mood lifter every week and I absolutely love meeting so many wonderful people. I also really love the fact that we are getting more people calling to ask us about getting involved, how they can volunteer or how to give back to the community. I love that our featured volunteers have inspired others to get engaged.

Our series has highlighted 42 people and organizations that are achieving their mission and helping others. Our oldest volunteer has been giving her time freely for over 60 years! One of my favourite opportunities was turning the tables on Black Press Bureau Chief Jen Zielinski, when I got to interview her about her volunteer activities.

I can’t even do the math to total the number of hours all the volunteers have given but it is well into the hundreds of thousands. It is amazing that time given freely helps both the community and the volunteer. Over and over, we have heard that volunteerism fills people up and brings rewards to them. We have profiled a myriad of opportunities to highlight the fact that there really is something for everyone out there and we hope that in 2022 those that haven’t found something to connect with yet, will do so in the new year.

Our small, but mighty, Community Services team at KCR Community Resources, runs the Volunteer Centre of the Central Okanagan and supports non-profits staff and volunteers with capacity building workshops and training. Emily, Ezra and I are here for you to reach out to and to get the support you need. And we also want to hear from you – what can we do to support you or your organization? What do you want to learn more about volunteerism around the Central Okanagan? Reach out to us at 250-763-8008 x254 or dorothee@kcr.ca to be featured in an upcoming column, ask questions and give input. You can also check out our website www.kcr.ca for those training opportunities coming up this spring. It’s so great to learn together with peers.

Lastly I would like to express our sincere gratitude to the volunteers that shared their stories, photos and experiences and allowed us poke into their personal lives. We also owe a huge debt of gratitude to Karen Hill, publisher of the Kelowna Capital News, for being such a community-minded citizen, for partnering with us on this weekly column, as well as the annual Volunteer Opportunities Guide that gets released at the Okanagan Volunteer Fair, and the annual Holiday Activities Guide. Big thanks also to Jen Zielinski for her support for the column and for the videos she has done featuring the volunteers.

From all of us at KCR Community Resources, we say thank you and we wish all the best for the New Year. We look forward to connecting more in 2022.

Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources. If you are interested in sharing your volunteer or organizational news, please contact Dorothee at dorothee@kcr.ca.

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