Volunteering made easy

The grand opening of Volunteer Fort St. James was held on March 4.

Volunteering can be about more than helping others.

More than 30 people came out for the grand opening of Volunteer Fort St. James on March 4.

The organization is a project to help connect people interested in volunteer opportunities with organizations in the community needing volunteers.

Some members of the established organizations in town relying on volunteers stood up to speak, including Jasmine Lakustra.

A long-time volunteer with the Fort St. James Humane Society, Lakustra said she herself has “personally experienced the heart of our community many times.”

“The support in this town is really awe-inspiring,” she said.

But one of the most powerful things she said was how much she herself gets out of volunteering in terms of personal growth, and she feels volunteering has given her as much as she herself has given.

Jhen Bridgeman also spoke about the Breakfast Club of Canada program she runs at the high school, which relies on volunteers to come out and help serve the breakfast for students.

She said her breakfasts aren’t about making breakfast, they’re about making community.

Jana Gainor of Volunteer Fort St. James explained how the organization will work – those who sign up as volunteers will get emails sent to them describing the volunteer opportunity an organization is requesting help with, and will include the contact for the organization needing volunteers.

A person who is interested simply responds to the contact information given, and anyone who isn’t interested can simply delete the email, so there is no pressure to get involved if the request does not suit the volunteer.

The idea is to help cut down on the hours organizations spend trying to get volunteers mobilized or engaged.

Volunteer Fort St. James will maintain a database of volunteers, which they will keep private, and a list of volunteer organizations, which will be published on the website being developed and on their Facebook page.

The group of volunteers running the organization will provide office hours in the Stuart Lake Seniors Recreation Centre on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., but sign up forms will be available anytime the centre is open.

Also, volunteers can also get the form to sign up online on the Volunteer Fort St. James Facebook page.

For more information, go to Volunteer Fort St. James on Facebook or email: volunteerfsj@telus.net.