April 24 to 30 marks National Volunteer Week, and the theme for this year’s recognition campaign is Volunteering Is Empathy In Action. When we volunteer our time, we develop empathy for others by seeing the world from their perspectives. We’re also given the opportunity to connect with people from diverse backgrounds and life experiences, expanding our views and contributing to a more inclusive and stronger community.
This National Volunteer Week, consider becoming a volunteer. As a volunteer, you can positively impact your community, as well as learn new skills, gain valuable experience, build your resume, and meet new people.
As part of our Community Boost donation program, CAA Niagara selects two local charities each year to receive funding, as well as volunteerism and marketing support. Each Community Boost partner is an integral part of the Niagara community. They also rely on volunteers to provide their vital services to those in need.
Read below to learn about local volunteer opportunities with CAA Niagara’s Community Boost partners.
Hospice Niagara – St. Catharines and Welland
Since 1993, Hospice Niagara has been helping people and families in Niagara live well from the time of diagnosis with a terminal illness, through to end-of-life care and bereavement.
At Hospice Niagara, there’s plenty of volunteer opportunities to suit a variety of interests and skillsets, including:
- Client and bereavement support
- Kitchen support
- Social ambassadorship
Opportunities include long-term positions, as well as short-term, event-based support. No medical background or field experience is required to be a Hospice Niagara volunteer.
Gillian’s Place – St. Catharines
Gillian’s Place provides a wide spectrum of free and confidential services that support survivors of gender-based violence, as well as those who care about them.
At the time of writing this blog post, Gillian’s Place’s volunteer program remains suspended due to COVID-19 restrictions. But for those looking to volunteer with Gillian’s Place in the future, roles include:
- Childcare assistance
- Donation sorting
- Kitchen support
- Events and fundraising assistance
Do you have a special skill? You can volunteer to provide recreational activities and services to Gillian’s Place clients, from hairstyling or yoga instruction to massage therapy, painting workshops and more.
The Foundation of Resources for Teens (FORT) – Grimsby and Smithville
The FORT is a local, not-for-profit youth centre that provides free recreational programs and resource services to over 10,0000 youth in the West Niagara community every year.
Do you enjoy working with youth? By volunteering at one of the FORT’s two centres in Grimsby and Smithville, you will have the opportunity to assist with daily activities, mentor youth, and arrange presentations to share an expertise, talent, hobby or profession of yours. The FORT also hosts a number of events throughout the year and is always in need of event planning committee members and event day support staff.
Food4Kids Niagara – St. Catharines
Food4Kids provides packages of healthy food for school-age children across Niagara with limited or no access to food each weekend. Packages are delivered to schools each Friday.
From shopping and packing to sorting and delivering packages, Food4Kids Niagara has the volunteer position to suit your availability. Ideal for corporate teams or groups, Food4Kids Niagara provides one-time packing sessions that allow you to go to their facility for 1-2 hours to assemble food bags for children in the region.
Kristen French Child Advocacy Centre – St. Catharines
The Kristen French CACN provides a safe place to help, heal, end child abuse for Niagara’s children and youth who have experienced or witnessed abuse.
The Kristen French CACN is always looking for a variety of volunteers to assist at their facility in St. Catharines, including:
- General maintenance volunteers to assist with minor repairs and landscaping
- Special events support
- Community ambassadors
- Youth mentors
Distress Centre Niagara – Thorold
For more than 50 years, Distress Centre Niagara has been committed to providing free, confidential 24-hour support and crisis/suicide prevention and intervention to individuals in need in the Niagara Region.
Distress Centre offers various roles in phone line support, which involves listening to caller’s concerns and exploring services that are the most appropriate fit for their needs.
As a volunteer with Distress Centre Niagara, you’ll have the chance to help others in your community who are isolated and alone, as well as provide intervention in life-threatening situations.
There are many more ways you can help those in need within Niagara, from serving at a soup kitchen or organizing a food drive to tutoring students, donating your gently used items, cleaning up litter at your local park or beach, or visiting the elderly.
To learn more about the work CAA Niagara does in the community, please visit https://caaniagara.ca/community.