Norm Keller and Rupert (in basket) spend their free time helping out at the Chilliwack General Hospital. (Jenna Hauck/ The Progress)

Volunteers help keep Chilliwack connected

There’s a volunteer job out there for everyone, at any age

There are thousands of volunteers partnered with organizations across Chilliwack. There are even more who know that volunteering is essential to keeping our community connected.

Many of those volunteers have been featured in this newspaper, from those who cook and deliver hot lunches to our schools, to those who fundraise to build up scholarship funds. They are parents who step in to lead Scout troops and cadet programs, and grandparents who read to school children. There is even Rupert, a volunteer bunny rabbit right here in Chilliwack, who gets around with his helper, volunteer Norm Keller.

But there is always room for more volunteers.

Whether you have an hour a week to spare, or are ready to volunteer on a daily basis, there is an organization out there who could use the help. From childminding through Community Services, to joining the ranks of the Chilliwack Search and Rescue team, there is something to suit everyone.

Community Services, for example, uses on average 200 volunteers every year filling an impressive 20,000 volunteer hours. They use volunteers to help with special events, seasonal programs, administrative support, assisting new Canadians, youth recreation, Meals on Wheels, Community Drivers as well as those who work with children, seniors or entire families.

They suggest looking through the list of their programs to see which suits your needs as a volunteer, and connecting with that program’s coordinator.

Like many organizations, they have a process to accepting new volunteers. Stepping up to help will often mean filling out paperwork, including a criminal record check form.

It’s a good idea to figure out why you want to volunteer, and match yourself up with a cause or organization that will keep you motivated. Then, figure out how much time you can commit. Is it just one weekend? Maybe a river clean up group could use your help. Are you free every Saturday? There may be a church that could use a hand in the kitchen feeding the community.

Make sure to ask what will be expected of you, and who you will report to. It may even help to volunteer with a like-minded friend, or to volunteer at an annual event (like the Run for Mom) as a family.

Keeping track of your volunteer opportunities, contacts, and successes, can also help when writing a resume. And in the meantime, you’ll be helping keep your community connected.