Lisa, the program manager at Orca Place. There are lots of opportunities to get involved and volunteer with the new Handmade for Hope program.

Hope is in your hands… volunteer and share your skills

The latest program at Orca Place prepares residents for employment opportunities

The latest piece of the Orca Place Supportive Housing program is here, and ready for volunteers!

Handmade For Hope connects residents of Orca Place with community groups, skilled volunteers and organizational resources, all with the aim of preparing residents for employment. Participants will learn to make handmade items and develop customer service and marketing skills as they sell the crafts at markets and pop-up shops. They’ll also receive valuable pre-employment training in areas like budgeting, time management and other skills.

The only thing missing? Volunteers to share skills and lend a hand.

“We see Handmade for Hope as one piece of the supportive housing package,” says Richard Powell, Director of Development with the Island Crisis Care Society. “Orca Place is much more than a housing program, we offer mentoring with personal development opportunities so people can move forward with their lives. We start with housing first to make sure people feel secure, sheltered and safe, then offer personalized supports and programming like Handmade For Hope to help people develop confidence and find employment.”

FURTHER READING: Handmade for hope program receives approval from Parksville Council

How to get involved

  • Teach participants how to make handmade products: Have a skill to share? Lead a workshop, and teach residents of Orca Place how to make crafts to sell. “We’re already working with the Mid-Island Woodworkers’ Guild on some fun wood projects, and have workshops to teach sewing and other crafts as well. We’d love to have even more variety,” Powell says.
  • Lead a class in employment skills: The Handmade for Hope program is partnering with local businesses and volunteers to teach skills like banking, budgeting, customer service, sales and marketing. Reach out if you have some training to share!
  • Support behind the scenes: Not interested in leading a workshop, but still want to meet people and help out? Work with participants while they make products, or lend a hand at market booths where participants will sell their handmade goods. You can also help design products or put together kits for finishing and assembling.
  • Donate supplies: Handmade For Hope is looking for crafting and woodworking tools, if you have supplies to share.

Orca Place volunteer training is now electronic, so you can complete the training at your leisure from the comfort of your own home. Strict protocols are in place to keep participants and volunteers safe, and only a small number of people are allowed in the dedicated Handmade for Hope space.

“We’re treating our volunteers like staff, with the same precautions and safety guidelines around physical distancing,” Powell says.

Interested in getting involved, or want more information? Email Volunteer Coordinator Sara Schreider at Follow Handmade for Hope on Facebook for the latest updates, and follow Island Crisis Care Society for news on other initiatives.

Employmentsupportive housingvolunteers


Handmade for Hope is the newest program at Orca Place, where participants hand-make products to sell and develop pre-employment skills. Sign up to volunteer today!

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