KCR: Volunteering is so much fun

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

Steven Finkleman’s love of travel and learning about different cultures has inspired him to be active in his retirement by volunteering both locally and abroad.

“I am passionate about travel, and I think that my interest in volunteering at KCR is partially because of my love of travel and exposure to so many rich cultural groups that I have witnessed,” says Steven, who has volunteered at KCR Community Resources in a variety of roles over the past seven years, including English teacher, Settlement Mentor and United Against Discrimination Committee Member. “I continue in retirement to enjoy learning about different traditions and cultures. Volunteering allows me to do this.

Originally from Winnipeg, Steven went to Montreal for his studies and moved to the Okanagan in 1982 where he practiced as a pediatrician for 27 years.

“During my career, I volunteered for about 10 overseas medical missions, which has included both actual work and teaching overseas,” explains Steven. “It was a tremendous opportunity for getting to know a country and culture while volunteering there. With retirement, this type of volunteering has slowed down but I volunteer significantly with my faith community and I also tutor newcomers at Project Literacy of the Central Okanagan. I really enjoy meeting and being with people, especially those of different cultures.”

One of the things Steven appreciates about volunteering is the ability to learn lots about others, their different habits and cultures. “I have always found this fascinating, but basically everyone has the same needs of health, happiness and security.”

Volunteering allows Steven to keep busy and feel like he has something to do with his time, which he feels is especially important during the retirement phase of life.

“It’s a great opportunity to help others and to help yourself feel useful and helpful, particularly with all the dire news comes across on TV these days,” states Steven with humour. “Forget the news, get off the sofa, stop watching TV, and be busy and productive. Who has time to lose? Particularly at my age!”

Although volunteering has offered many valuable stories, one of Steven’s favourite memories is being invited to a wedding reception while he was volunteering at a medical project in Nepal. “One of the doctors was getting married and there were at least a 1,000 people at the wedding reception,” remembers Steven fondly. “It was incredibly lavish, with four or five eating rooms! The music and dancing was incredible – straight out of a Bollywood movie. I just stood there, either filming, with my mouth agape, or just joined in to the dancing! Unbelievable experience – like so many others.”

Volunteering is a phenomenal way of keeping busy, being productive and helping other people,” concludes Steven. “And besides that, it is also SO MUCH FUN!”

To find your phenomenal, fun volunteering opportunity, check out and the VolunteerConnector.

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

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