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Tag: Volunteer Opportunity

Municipal library in search of new town board director

Pincher Creek’s library is looking for a new face for its board of directors. 

The Pincher Creek and District Municipal Library provides services to residents of the town, the MD and the village of Cowley. The opening is for someone living within town boundaries.

“The board provides direction to the library manager,” says library manager Kayla Lorenzen.

“They are the manager’s boss but they, for example, wouldn’t become involved in something like staffing. They do, however, do policy creation. They talk about the budget and the finances. They successfully work with the [provincial] government to run the library.”

Public library operations throughout Alberta are monitored by the municipal affairs ministry.

The board is made up of nine representatives. The town and MD have four members each — one elected councillor and three individuals from the community. A member-at-large from Cowley rounds out the nine.

Nine, under provincial guidelines, is also the number of years a director can be on the board, but exceptions can be made past the limit if there’s consensus among directors. Terms are three years.

 

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“So, we have a couple of the board members that have served for a very long time and some who are brand new, which gives us a wide variety of experience,” adds Kayla.

She says the board traditionally meets nine times a year, on the third Wednesday of every month. Exceptions are July, August and December, unless something urgent comes up. 

“Typically, they last anywhere between 90 minutes and two hours. You’ll also need to give yourself time to read the documents that are sent out ahead of time so you’re able to actively take part in the discussions.”

There are also four subcommittees that meet, albeit not on a monthly basis, that are also part of the role, Kayla points out.

“There is one that will cover policies, another for personnel matters, a finance subcommittee and there is one that looks at expansion.”

She says being on the board can be very rewarding. Even more so, as the current facility looks to complete the first quarter-century of operation in 2024.

 

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At its next meeting, the board will finalize the library’s plan of service. Details of the document included a survey with feedback from 160 residents, input from a community engagement session and pop-ups at events like the trade show. The focus, Kayla says, was around the question: What does the library in Pincher Creek look like for the future?

The board is expected to pick its top three choices at its October meeting, with a brochure to follow next month outlining the library’s direction.

Application forms are available on the town website at bit.ly/48OKIpC or can be picked up from the front desk at the town office.

Completed forms can be dropped off at the library or at the town office.

The position is volunteer and requires no previous experience.

“You just need a love for the library,” Kayla says.

It’s hoped the successful candidate can be in place by the November meeting, but there’s no timeline.

 

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Rachel VanHalen, a woman with short brown hair and wearing a red vest, pushes a cart with activity bins at Pincher Creek Health Centre

Pincher Creek Health Centre seeking volunteers to support patients

Alberta Health Services is actively recruiting volunteers to help support patients at Pincher Creek Health Centre.

The call was put out across social media by AHS’s volunteer resources co-ordinator (south zone), Michelle Wilkinson, who says the hospital is in need of patient visitors, pets to visit with patients and home-care visitors.

“The ideal volunteer would be outgoing and offer support by engaging in conversation, listening, or simply spending time with patients who may be feeling lonely or isolated,” she says.

Preferred applicants would be expected to work collaboratively with health-care providers to ensure patients and their families are getting improved care and experiences.

Health centre volunteers typically approach the role with a desire to help others, and provide compassion to patients when needed. 

Anyone interested in helping out would need to be available 12 to 16 hours a month, with hours spread across three to four shifts. Applicants would need to commit to a minimum of one year of volunteering with Alberta Health Services.

“We offer flexible scheduling, allowing volunteers to find a time that fits with their current schedule,” Michelle says.

 

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She notes that volunteering comes with numerous personal and professional benefits, including a sense of fulfillment, community engagement and career enhancement.

“Helping patients during challenging times can be deeply rewarding and provide a strong sense of purpose. It is a way to give back to one’s community and make a positive impact on the lives of others,” she says.

“Volunteering in a health-care setting can also serve as a stepping stone for individuals interested in pursuing careers in health care. It provides exposure to the health-care field and networking opportunities. Regardless of the role, volunteer experience looks great on a resume.”

AHS offers several courses to volunteers to help them in their roles, free of charge. Twice a year, it offers a palliative-care training course to volunteers to teach them how to assist patients who are at the end of life.

Those interested in applying to help patients at the health centre are encouraged to apply directly online. 

Applicants must complete AHS’s volunteer onboarding process, which includes a criminal background check, a health screen and two references. They must also participate in confidentiality and privacy training, as well as online, site and program-specific orientations and training.

For more information, contact Michelle directly by email or by phone at 403-562-5024.

A woman scoops fresh popcorn into a green and blue popcorn bag.

Scoop for Love

For every 30 minutes a volunteer bags popcorn, the theatre will donate $15 to a charity of the volunteer’s choice. 

Scoop for Love volunteers are also welcome to enjoy a free bag of popcorn and watch whatever movie is playing at the time.

Amanda Leaming, co-owner of Fox Theatre, says Scoop for Love was introduced after she came across similar programs running successfully at other theatres. She feels it’s a good opportunity to develop a community connection while supporting worthy causes.

“My motto is the famous Helen Keller quote, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much,’ ” Amanda says.

“Having people come in to volunteer their hours and give that money back to the community, in terms of their charity of choice, really helps develop a strong sense of community and joy.”

Prior to the launch of Scoop for Love, Amanda reached out to some local non-profit groups to let them know about the program.

Felicia White, executive director of the Pincher Creek Humane Society, was thrilled to learn of the program and how it could help the animal shelter.

 

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“I get people who want to volunteer and help the shelter that can’t because they’re allergic to the animals, so this is a way that they can help without stepping foot in the shelter,” Felicia says.

“Fifteen dollars may not seem like a lot, but it goes a long way to helping us here at the shelter, whether that’s buying cat litter, bleach or other products we require.” 

While the emphasis will be on local organizations, volunteers can select whatever charity or non-profit they wish to receive their donation. 

The theatre will eventually have a list of local charities and non-profits for volunteers to consider, should they wish.

Interested candidates should contact the theatre and set up a date for a small amount of training, to ensure they’re confident and comfortable with the work.

A schedule will be up at the theatre with time slots open for volunteers to bag popcorn. As long as there are slots available, there is no limit to how much time someone can volunteer.

For more information, or if you wish to volunteer, you can call the theatre at 403-627-3444, email foxtheatre@omratech.ca or swing by in person.

Womens' hands joined in a gesture of comfort

Increased demand for victim services, volunteers needed

Ranchlands Victim Services, the only 24-hour crisis unit in Alberta, is looking for volunteers who can devote time to assisting victims of crime and tragedy with their short-term needs.

In partnership with the RCMP and additional co-partners, RVS provides victims with emotional support, practical assistance and referrals to community resources for continued support. 

According to Shelly-Anne Dennis, executive program manager, the organization has recently experienced increased demand for their services, requiring more volunteers to provide victims with support. 

“We’re seeing more cases of domestic violence and sexual assault, which means a greater need for our services,” she says.

 

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Volunteers typically go out to crisis calls and may provide court support, accompaniment, transportation and other means of assisting victims.

Supporting the communities of Pincher Creek, Crowsnest Pass, Fort Macleod, Claresholm and Piikani Nation, RVS emphasizes the provision of a co-ordinated, skilled and efficient response to victims of traumatic events. 

“Being able to administer trauma support to victims of crime and tragedy in our community is a very crucial and beneficial service,” Dennis says.

The RCMP often rely on RVS staff and volunteers to provide support to victims and their families, while they focus on potential offenders, particularly in cases of criminal activity.

 

 

Part of the struggle to find volunteers comes with the rigorous background check that each potential volunteer or staff member of RVS has to go through to be accepted.

“You have to pass an enhanced security clearance, which is the same clearance as an RCMP officer, so it’s a very strict background check,” Dennis says

Employees and volunteers of RVS have a level of security clearance that exposes them to police files that they must keep confidential. A thorough background check is crucial in ensuring someone is suited to sign on.

These background checks are meant not only to look for criminal history, but also to look for anything that could affect work credibility or re-traumatize someone who was once a victim themself.

 

 

This could include a recent history of domestic violence, assault or financial stressors.

In time, Dennis hopes RVS can get more volunteers to maintain a full unit to service and support our communities.

“I’m pretty passionate about this job — it isn’t just a job to me. I love helping people and the work I do to help said people,” she says.

“We hope that our work decreases the amount of trauma that people have to go through and that eventually, with the proper help, they could move back into a normal lifestyle sooner.”

If you wish to become a volunteer with RVS, the advocate application is available online at ranchlandsvictimservices.com.

 

 

 

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