Volunteer club turns into volunteer hub

Volunteer Fort St. James is calling all volunteers to become a part of a growing volunteer hub.

Chester Hiebert

Volunteer Fort St. James is becoming a sort of army-base for volunteers.

“We put anyone needing volunteers into contact with people willing to help. It’s basically  a clearing house for volunteers and those needing volunteers,” said Chester Hiebert, Vice President of the Stuart Lake Seniors Association, which runs Volunteer Fort St. James.

For the past year, Volunteer Fort St. James members have been committed to helping local organizations by volunteering and recruiting volunteers. The group has continually grown and their efforts were recognized last week by the Region of Bulkely Nechako with a $2000 grant-in-aid in sport of creating awareness for the project.

“Once people find out what it’s about they’ll be happy to volunteer. It’s an opportunity for people to get involved,” said Mr. Hiebert.

The goal of the organization is to help fit volunteers with an organization and to connect people who are like minded. Going project by project, the plan is to get people doing what they like to do all while helping the community.

Currently there are 72 volunteers ranging in age but it was seniors who initially thought of the idea and put it into action.

“Even though the baby boomers are getting older their vision is still clear. Typically in Fort St. James seniors  have been among the most enthusiastic, however, seniors need the support of other seniors and young people,” said Mr. Hiebert.

With help of the grant-in-aid,  promotional efforts are being planned, including traditional newspaper and television methods along with a barbecue and other festivities to help get the word out. So far the response has been good.

“That’s because people in the North know how to get along and get things done,” said Mr. Hiebert.

As a Fort St. James lifer and regular volunteer, Yvonne Gilbert 44, loves the feeling she gets when she helps others. She works full-time as a classroom assistance at the high school but tends to volunteer whenever she is asked to.  She especially likes to volunteer with the school and around town.

“If someone calls me up I usually volunteer. It’s the smiles on the kids faces. It makes me feel good when I can volunteer and make something happen,” said Ms. Gilbert.