Volunteers have many opportunities to make a difference in their communities
by Heidi Riley
A Volunteer Fair held at UPEI brought together many organizations looking to recruit new volunteers. All the representatives agreed that the work of volunteers is essential to the good work they do in the community, and that the experience can build skills and connections.
ADHD PEI offers peer support groups for adults and parents of children of ADHD online and in person.
Volunteers are needed for database creation, to reach out to other health officials, and to create materials to place in doctor’s offices.
“We have lots of people who want to access our programming, but not enough people to get the organization established and to run the programming, data administration, administrative work, and bookkeeping,” says Sandy Slade.
“We want to match our volunteers’ interests and abilities and what they are passionate about with the tasks ADHD PEI wants to get done.”
To get involved, call 902-978-0351 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for a volunteer interest form.
Autism Society of PEI
The Autism Society offers support and services for individuals all over PEI. “We are a two-person organization, and we cover the whole Island, so volunteers are essential,” says Nick Diamond.
“We are always looking for volunteers to help with society events. The Autism Society is currently updating our web page, so we are looking for people with those technical skills. Event photographers are also needed, and it is a great way to get to know your community. We are also looking for individuals with specific skills such as volunteer hairstylists in Summerside and Charlottetown.
“We aim to match an individual’s volunteer experience with their current skills and what they are comfortable doing. If you are a good website designer or enjoy photography, or if you just want to come out and help people on the spectrum, we are open to many different ways to volunteer.”
To get involved, email email@example.com
Beach Grove Home | Prince Edward Home | Sherwood Home
Jeff Villard says residents really missed the involvement and contributions of volunteers when services were suspended as part of COVID-19 response measures for Long-Term Care. At this time, while following public health measures, volunteer are once again back in our Homes.
“Volunteers play an important role in fostering residents’ well-being,” says Jeff. “Whether assisting a resident with dining, reading mail, or sharing talents of music or art, volunteers greatly enhance the services we provide.
“It is all about keeping residents connected and not feeling isolated. Volunteers contribute to a sense of normalcy that has been missing ever since COVID-19 started. They are a valuable addition to the supports presently in place to achieve the best quality of life for our residents.
“We are happy to welcome our returning volunteers back, and we are looking for more people with a passion for seniors and person-centred care. Our motto is: Residents don’t live in our workplace – we work in their home.
“Before they begin to interact with residents, volunteers are required to attend an orientation session to learn about our Homes, the residents we serve, and the roles available.”
To get involved, click here to fill out an application.
Canadian Mental Health Association – PEI Division
Volunteers are needed to deliver I’m Thumbody, an early childhood mental health program for grade 3 students. Trained volunteers present the program in the classroom in two one-hour sessions.
“The premise of the program is that every person is a unique individual and self-esteem is so important,” says Connor Murphy. “We are trying to help kids realize it is important to be proud of who you are.
“Now more than ever, with the pandemic, people are feeling isolated. Delivering the I’m Thumbody program is a great way to get out, promote mental health, and feel a social connection.
“We are also looking for volunteers with any type of lived mental health experience to help co-create programs with us. Professionals who develop programs need help from people with lived mental health experience to bring to light the most important aspects they think should be part of the program.
“We want their input as we develop programs for awareness and de-stigmatization of mental health so we can come together and talk about these issues. We would like to hear from anyone who would like to help or contribute.”
To get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org
For more about I’m Thumbody, click here
Chantiers jeunesse is a non-profit organization created in 1980 to foster the development of young, active, and socially engaged citizens while encouraging community development. Through our projects, young people increase their potential and gain new skills, all while discovering a new country or region. Our initiatives are part of an international trend that proposes finding the pleasure in work.
WHAT WE DO
We organize volunteer projects in different regions of Quebec for young people between the ages of 15 and 30 and support Canadian participants who we’ve placed in international projects (out of the more than 35 possible destinations in Europe, North America and Asia).
Every year, 150 young volunteers get involved in different projects organized by Chantiers jeunesse. All of this is possible thanks to our collaboration with more than 40 international organizations who are also part of the Alliance of European Voluntary Service Organisations.
- Intercultural Volunteer Projects in Canada
- Social Entrepreneurship Projects
- Volunteer Projects Abroad
- Individual Volunteer Projects
- Introductory Social Engagement Workcamps
To get involved, call 1-800-361-2055 or visit https://www.cj.qc.ca
Girl Guides of Canada PEI
Girl Guides of Canada PEI is currently looking for leaders for units across the Island to help deliver their fun and relevant program for girls aged 5 to 17 years old.
There are so many rewards to volunteering with Guiding – You will:
- Have a profound impact on girls in your community as you help them unleash their potential
- Develop highly transferrable and LinkedIn-worthy skills
- Connect with other amazing women as you volunteer together
- Have access to member-only training, special events and scholarships
Ways to volunteer
Most of their volunteers work with Girl Guide groups in their community, facilitating empowering, hands-on activities for girls. As a Unit Guider, you can spark extraordinary opportunities that help girls build skills, confidence – and have fun!
There are also other volunteering opportunities that support Guiding, such assisting at special events or camps, serving as a Treasurer or a specialized adviser, or joining Link (up to age 30) or Trefoil Guild (women 30+).
To volunteer, visit https://www.girlguides.ca/web/ and click Volunteers.
To get involved, email email@example.com
Let’s Talk Science
Let’s Talk Science encourages youth to get involved in science, engineering, technology and math, and to consider those subjects for future education and careers.
Volunteers visit schools and organize events such as teaching coding, introducing students to biology, and making science fun.
“Volunteers should be 18 plus and have a basic knowledge of science,” says Minhajur Rahman. “Volunteers receive the instruction and resources they need to deliver the program. This year, some events may be held online, and we have a plan for that.”
“This great experience will help volunteers gain skills and enhance their resumé,” says Thais Ferreira. “Employers love to see volunteer experience on a resumé, especially when it relates to your field.”
To get involved, email firstname.lastname@example.org and include your area of interest.
Mental Health and Addictions – Health PEI
There are volunteer opportunities available across Mental Health and Addictions service sites, including, but not limited to:
- Hillsborough Hospital
- QEH (Unit 9)
- Inpatient Mental Health Unit at Prince County Hospital (Summerside)
- the Provincial Addictions Treatment Facility (Mount Herbert)
- and other Community Mental Health and Addictions or Transitional Services sites.
“We need volunteers at mental health and addictions facilities to help support clients and families,” says David Olaitan. “Also, our healthcare staff are working around the clock, especially at this unprecedented time with the challenges around COVID-19, so we need more volunteers. We are very grateful to those who volunteer many hours and contribute to our healthcare system.
“Volunteer hours can be used towards earning a bursary and are a great addition to a resumé. If you plan to work in healthcare, volunteer experience in a mental health facility is an advantage when applying for work.”.
Volunteer opportunities could involve being at the hospital and directing people to where they need to go, helping clients at Occupational Therapy with their daily activities, accompanying patients to the gym or outside on the grounds for walks, and providing friendship, companionship, and conversation
To get involved, email email@example.com or call 902-330-5515 or 902-358-5413.
Visit https://www.princeedwardisland.ca/en and search for the facility you would like to volunteer with.
Print out the application form, fill it out, and mail or drop it off at the Volunteer Services office at the Hillsborough Hospital.
WILD Outside is a conservation leadership program for youth ages 15 to 18 developed exclusively by the Canadian Wildlife Federation and funded by the Government of Canada through their Canada Service Corps initiative.
“We are looking for both youth participants and adult volunteers to join us on our outdoor adventures and conservation service projects,” says Irene MacAulay.
“WILD Outside runs year-round, and we meet two to three times a month. Volunteers can take on a leadership role by guiding our group on a hike or sharing a special skill. Or if they just want to participate in an outdoor adventure and be an extra set of eyes to supervise, they can take on that role.”
For more information and to apply, visit www.WildOutside.ca
Volunteering connects students to the community and to future employment opportunities
PEI Connectors works to grow PEI’s economy by offering support services to businesses owned and operated by immigrants. It also connects people who are new to the local labour market to business and community leaders so that they can grow their professional networks and expand career opportunities on the Island.
She also tells job seekers about how important it is to network and make professional connections through volunteering when looking for employment.It is an initiative of the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce. Elmira Moghimi is a Program Officer with PEI Connectors. She helps post-secondary students and recent graduates meet with Connectors, who are community leaders, business owners, HR managers and employers who volunteer their time to be part of this project. “We want to make sure that our clients can make the right connections to resources on PEI so that they will remain on the Island.”
Benefits of volunteering
“PEI is all about word of mouth, and volunteering is a great way to make connections,” says Elmira. “In Canada, it is very important that a resumé shows how much you contribute to your community. Some people think they do not have time to volunteer and work for free. But it pays off. Volunteering helps you expand your network while helping an organization and contributing to society.
“Students learn a lot and meet so many people by volunteering just a few hours a week. People who volunteer for an extended time with one organization have a greater chance of being hired when a job opportunity comes up. When hiring, employers often hire people they already know.”
Help with the job search
Elmira also coaches job seekers on how to apply for work. She has developed a job seeker toolkit which shares information about creating professional resumés, interview tips, and employment resources.
Elmira meets with clients in their final year of post-secondary studies and recent graduates to discuss their professional goals and the type of job they are seeking. She works with them to develop a customized resumé based on the description of the job for which they are applying.
“Many clients use one resumé to apply for all jobs,” says Elmira. “But most companies spend just one minute scanning each resumé. To stand out, the resumé needs to be very concise and customized.”
Elmira says building connections goes beyond responding to a job ad and really adds to the process of looking for work. “At our last Advanced Career Connections speed-networking event in April 2021, 12 employers met with student job seekers, who had 10 minutes to exchange information. The outcome was amazing, and some employers hired our clients. We hope to host a similar speed-networking event in the near future.”
PEI Connectors serves domestic and international post-secondary students in their final year of studies, as well as recent graduates who are looking for work related to their area of expertise. All services are free of charge. Clients are also able to attend PEI Connectors webinars and in-person events.
A journey to employment
Elmira, who is from Iran, took her second degree at UPEI, studying Sociology with a minor in Applied Communication and Culture. While at UPEI, she volunteered in different departments on campus. She was also the president of the UPEI Iranian Society, and helped students connect with the right resources to help them integrate into life on PEI.
“I learned a lot as I kept up to date about what was going on at UPEI. Volunteering helped me grow my relationships with different communities and departments and expanded my network.”
For more about PEI Connectors, call 902-628-2000 ext. 257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Other volunteer organizations
Alzheimer Society of PEI
Big Brothers Big Sisters of PEI
Canadian Blood Services
Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award – Canada
ElderDog Canada – PEI
Jasper Sunrise Wildwoods Stables
Junior Achievement (JA) PEI
Kiwanis Club of Charlottetown
Immigration and Refugee Services Association of PEI (IRSA PEI)
PEI Fight for Affordable Housing
PEI Food Exchange
SAFE (Sober and Friendly Environment)
St. John Ambulance
UPEI International Student Office
UPEI Student Union
Upper Room Hospitality Ministry of PEI