Special to The NEWS
Sherwood Moore volunteered in Ontario for many years, but when he moved to the Parksville Qualicum Beach area in 1991, something changed.
“I liked volunteering better when I got here, I really did,” he said. “There’s a big difference between what SOS does and how they treat their volunteers and almost any other organization I’ve ever been involved with.”
Moore has been volunteering at the Society of Organized Services (SOS) for 24 years. He volunteered for the Income Tax program for 18 years and he’s been a driver for the Meals on Wheels program and the Medical Appointment Transportation Service.
He said he’s met many wonderful people through volunteering, and he loves the fact that the volunteer work he does, as well as all the donations that go to the SOS Thrift Shop, help make programs and services possible in this community.
April 10-16 marks National Volunteer Week, meant to honour people like Moore across the country.
Canada currently has 12.7 million volunteers, according to Volunteer Canada. SOS is a volunteer-run organization with more than 350 active volunteers; each one helps keep more than 30 local programs and services running smoothly.
A report from Statistics Canada released in 2015 called Spotlight on Canadians: Results from the General Social Survey stated that volunteerism contributes to social cohesion, or sense of community, by bringing together people from all walks of life to work on a common project or objective. The report also states that volunteering can benefit volunteers by acquiring skills and knowledge, as well as knowledge of current social or political issues.
It adds that research has shown that volunteering and giving can contribute to the improved well-being and health of volunteers and donors.
Twenty-two-year-old Stephanie Reid began volunteering at SOS in the Child, Youth & Family Centre in Parksville earlier this year to gain relevant experience and knowledge, and see if her plan to get post-secondary education in child and youth care was the right choice.
She said her time spent in the School Nite Out program has been really fun and she enjoys being a mentor for youth, in grades 7 through 9.
“I used the experience to help inspire me and to confirm what I wanted to do. Now I’ve been accepted into a (child and youth care) program.”
Reid has been fond of SOS since she attended the SOS Girl Talk program when she was 10, where she met her best friend.
Erin Holmes was working as a tutor at SOS when she got an email that SOS was looking for volunteers in the Thrift Shop.
Four years later she still volunteers tagging clothes in the Thrift Shop, as well as doing alterations for the Gradwear program.
“The thing that I love about volunteering at SOS is there’s no government or corporate interference, whatever SOS feels is the right thing to do, that’s what they do,” she said.
Holmes said she volunteers Saturday mornings at the Thrift Shop, and looks forward to her shift every week. The volunteers chat and laugh throughout their shifts, she said, and during their coffee breaks, they solve the world’s problems.
“There will be one topic of the day that will get us in deep and heavy conversation and it might be something about policing or something the government is doing, any topic that is noteworthy in the paper, we’re on it and chatting about it,” she laughed.
For more information about volunteering at SOS visit www.sosd69.com or call 250-248-2093. Follow SOS on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sosd69.
— Lissa Alexander is the marketing co-ordinator at SOS. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.