Dennis LaHue is a volunteer

KCR: Volunteering is appreciating people for who they are

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

Being an introvert, needs quiet time to recharge his batteries but he also needs to connect to others and that is part of why he volunteers. He moved to the Okanagan from Kitimat 4 years ago and has been volunteering most of his life off and on.

“Volunteering for me is fulfilling. It keeps me socially, intellectually, and physically active,” he says. “It is a chance to socialize and it gives a routine to my life. I feel valued and part of a great team.”

Currently Dennis volunteers at the Kelowna Family YMCA as a fitness instructor and he at times also oversees the gym. After having broken his back almost 40 years ago, Dennis loves to make sure he exercises both his body and his mind daily.

Dennis interacts with a wide variety of people at the Y and says through volunteering he has “learned to be more relaxed and appreciate all people for who they are.”

Building a human connection is key to building understanding for communities and it is one of the obvious perks of sharing your time as a volunteer. In a world where algorithms determine our news feeds and friend updates, we can easily become very siloed in our thinking and experiences. Volunteering takes us out of these silos and exposes us to diverse people, perspectives and opportunities.

At the Rotary Centre for the Arts they are focusing on a multi-general approach to both their programming and their volunteer opportunities. Colleen Fitzpatrick, Executive Director for the RCA, is excited about the opportunity for interaction with both senior and youth volunteers filling critical roles at the RCA.

The RCA has just launched their new Youth Arts Council where they are accepting applications from creative and diverse youth between the ages 13 – 18 who are looking for both a creative outlet and an opportunity to help their community. The council will help shape youth presence in the Kelowna arts scene in 2021 and into the future. Ideally, potential members of the youth council would have volunteer experience with underrepresented voices in the community and in diverse organizations. The council will be youth-led so members will be determining what projects they undertake, they will have their voices heard on future programs and activities at the RCA and they will work with art mentors from the community. What an amazing opportunity!

The RCA is also looking for youth aged 16-20, to collaborate in a fun environment to help the Arts Blast team deliver quality programming in visual art, dance, music, and theatre to youth ages 5 – 12.

You might also want to consider preparing your application for the coveted Front of House volunteer positions at the RCA. They only do one intake each year and the portal will open on June 1, going through to September 2, 2021. For all of the RCA opportunities, check out their website at www.rotarycentreforthearts.ca.

If you are looking for other volunteer opportunities, check out the VolunteerConnector platform through KCR’s website at www.kcr.ca.

Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources, a multi-service agency offering programs and services to meet community, family and individual needs. KCR is home to the Volunteer Centre of the Central Okanagan. Dorothee has the privilege of working with non-profit agencies and volunteers throughout the region to support the amazing work they do. She loves sharing stories of organizations and people and welcomes your input to tell these stories. Reach her at 250-860-4911 or email dorothee@kcr.ca.

Volunteer