Isobel Mackenzie, the advocate for seniors in British Columbia says a rise in volunteer services supporting the seniors has been one of the "brightest lights'' throughout the pandemic.
Mackenzie says nearly 26,000 seniors benefited from the generosity of over 13,000 volunteers. No doubt the numbers are much larger than this. Mackenzie says the number of seniors living independently and getting help with everything from the delivery of groceries to friendly visits and snow shoveling doubled between April 2020 and March 2021 compared with the year before.
We all live out of a self story of who we are, our place in the world, and why our life is important. Sometimes these life questions are easy to answer; when we have “paying jobs”, or when we are raising children. But when we retire, or when we hit a certain age, have traveled to all of our dream locations, or our children no longer “need” us we can experience a crisis of identity, and even experience a kind of depression. What am I to do? Who am I? Where do I fit in?
The answer is actually hidden in the phrase “it is better to give than to receive”. Surprisingly enough this phrase does not refer to the giving of money alone. But rather it speaks to the giving of one’s self. How one does that is different from person to person, but it goes to how you spend your time, and where you put your efforts. Volunteering is the best possible way to rediscover the meaning of your life.
People for a Healthy Community (PHC) has supported community members through the pandemic by putting our programs online, or by socially distancing. In many cases, however, our volunteers needed to step back. As we come out of the pandemic, PHC is now reaching out to welcome existing volunteers back and welcoming new volunteers. With over 30 programs we often have over 180 volunteers helping at one time or another during the year. Some volunteers come every week for 2 hours, some come once a year for 6 hours. Some use their brains to help us develop new programs and some use their hands to sort produce or make hot lunches. Some volunteers work in a team setting, some work by themselves. Regardless, volunteers help to make things tick along, leveraging impact and resulting in PHC programs touching one in seven Gabriolans.
Finding a good volunteer fit is not always easy, it requires some personal reflection, and the personal decision to reach out and say you're available. If you think you might be ready to try volunteering as a way to reconnect with your community, please consider volunteering at People for a Healthy Community. Check out our website, www.phcgabriola.org , fill in the form and start the journey of giving back and rediscovering yourself