Volunteering way to give back during holidays

Community programs coordinator for Volunteer Kamloops, Robert McKinnon, scans through a binder of volunteer opportunities available this holiday season.
Image Credit: InfoTel Multimedia

The Christmas season is known as the season of giving.

While iPads and video games are on many minds during the holiday season, the Kamloops Volunteer Society is asking residents to give a different gift this year - time.

"(Volunteering) is very rewarding," said Robert McKinnon, the society's community programs coordinator.

McKinnon facilitates organizations with volunteers from the community as well as provides mental health services to those being rehabilitated back into the workforce. He said volunteering gives people feelings of self worth, community and societal contribution and allows people to network and build skills that can lead to employment opportunities.

He said senior centres are often the busiest for volunteers during the Christmas season because of the mental strain the time can have on seniors. He added that Operation Red Nose, a non-profit designated driver program, also runs during the holiday season and requires drivers, navigators and dispatchers. With the amount of organizations seeking volunteers, McKinnon said there are positions for everyone.

"We probably have around 80 or 90 (positions right now), close to 100 and maybe even more," he said.

While some organizations such as Sun Peaks require specific skills, organizations such as the Canadian Cancer Society are seeking a wide range of volunteers.

"We pretty well look after everybody."

Their website is updated every Thursday with volunteer opportunities, but McKinnon says the best way to learn more is to stop into their Seymour Street office.

— Jessica Wallace

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