Kelowna RCMP's commanding officer Supt. Kara Triance. (Kelowna RCMP)

KCR: Volunteers shape the direction of people’s lives

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

The John Howard Society of Okanagan & Kootenay has a unique opportunity for volunteers to make significant impact on individuals’ lives as part of the Kelowna Parole program to assist with offender reintegration. Aidan O’Callahan is the Correctional Service of Canada Volunteer Coordinator and he is passionate about assisting offenders get back into society and he knows that that volunteers play a critical role in encouraging offenders to become law-abiding citizens.

“Correctional Service of Canada (CSC) is committed to providing resources for offenders to reintegrate back into the community and volunteers are central to the journey,” explains Aidan. “CSC is part of the Canadian federal government agency responsible for the incarceration and rehabilitation of convicted criminal offenders sentenced to two years or more.”

Volunteers can help in a variety of ways, including mental health and wellness, literacy and education, and program support. Volunteers also support families of offenders and helped released offenders re-adjust to life.

“Volunteers should expect a medium to long-term commitment due to the role and responsibilities, adds Aidan. “The hours are flexible and volunteers can work virtually and in-person, but in-person is preferred. We hope to have a diverse pool of volunteer applicants with a wide variety of knowledge and skills.”

“Volunteers will have many rewarding experiences as they commit to their role working with Kelowna Parole, offenders, and the CSC Volunteer Coordinator,” says Aidan. “They will have to undergo background checks in order to comply with Federal volunteer guidelines and the application process can be lengthy, but it is entirely worth it for the committed applicant.”

“Volunteers with CSC will also become knowledgeable on the process of offender reintegration, codes of conduct, and structure of corrections,” continues Aidan. “Volunteers will be able to assist offenders with a wide variety of goals that can shape their journey adjusting back into the community. They will be helping to make our community safer.”

To become one of the 4,500 volunteers across Canada making our communities safer, and making significant impact on those on the journey of reintegrating back into the community, e-mail Aidan at volunteer@jhsok.ca.

“Volunteers dedicating their skills and knowledge to assist those in need, can help shape the direction of someone’s life,” concludes Aidan.

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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