KCR: Volunteering is a learning experience

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

Moving to a new community is hard. You have likely left your circle of friends or family to start a new life in a new community where you may not know anyone else. We often make connections through work or school and expand from there. But what if you are retired, or you are a stay-at-home parent or you are living through a pandemic that requires social distancing? How do you build your networks then? Volunteering can be a great way to help you get connected, or it may be one way of helping others get connected also.

Dwight Foster moved to the Okanagan from Edmonton in the Spring of 2015 and quickly jumped on the volunteer bandwagon. Like many volunteers, Dwight is a serial volunteer, helping at a variety of organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, The Boys & Girls Club and the United Way. Dwight also found his way to KCR to volunteer as a Settlement Mentor, helping Newcomers, not only to this community but to Canada as well.

Newcomers to Canada have a steep learning curve that may include cultural difference, learning a new language, finding work and having professional credentials from another country recognised here. Settlement and Employment Mentors like Dwight make a huge difference in helping newcomers build their new homes and communities. Paired up one-on-one, the mentor and mentee meet on a regular basis and often form a bond and friendship that continues well past their official mentor relationship. It is also a relationship that is mutually beneficial, like so many volunteer opportunities are.

“Volunteering is a learning experience for you and others. You will learn from the experience by being open minded and participatory. The benefits to yourself include self awareness, boosting your well being, and knowing that you are helping someone else.”

Dwight has been volunteering for over 25 years and when he is not busy being a voice actor, he loves to share his time with others.

Even during COVID times, there are ways to volunteer that are safe for everyone. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, get in touch with KCR Community Resources and we can help you get started and to find the perfect opportunity. Don’t let age get in the way – there are opportunities for those younger and older, and everyone in between. There are hands-on, safe opportunities and there are great virtual or volunteer-from-home opportunities. The best thing is just to get started. You can find out more at www.kcr.ca or call us at 250-763-8008.

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.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism? Make a donation here.