If you’re new to Kelowna, or if you’re just looking to get more involved in the local culture, volunteering is a great way to meet new people and give back to your community. Working for a volunteer organization can help you find personal fulfillment and meet like-minded people. As with most active communities in the country, Kelowna is home to many organizations, associations, events, museums, parks, playgrounds and clubs offering opportunities to get involved. With so much fruit to pick from the giving tree, it might be a bit hard to decide where and when to volunteer. Here are four volunteer opportunities in Kelowna that will allow you to make a difference.
Help the Visually Impaired with the Kelowna CNIB
The Canadian National Institute for the Blind (www.cnib.ca) is about “passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life.” CNIB volunteers come from all walks of life and represent Canada from coast to coast. The CNIB website mentions a recent national volunteer satisfaction survey stating that 97% of respondents said they are likely to recommend CNIB as a place to volunteer. Volunteer positions with the Kelowna CNIB include office support volunteers, acting as a Vision Mate who gives direct assistance and companionship to blind individuals, or becoming a CNIB driver who helps blind CNIB volunteers when they travel on CNIB business. As one of the country’s largest volunteer organizations, the CNIB is a wonderful place to make a difference in the lives of blind individuals.
Create Opportunities to Experience Art with the Cool Arts Society
Cool Arts (www.coolarts.ca) is dedicated to providing fine arts opportunities for adults with developmental disabilities living in the Central Okanagan. Their website is inviting, inspiring and sponsored by The Recreation Foundation of British Columbia and the Central Okanagan Foundation whose motto is “empowering generations to give.” The Cool Arts vision is to “create opportunities, to make art, to take classes and learn, to be in a supportive fine arts environment, to exhibit or perform, to be part of the larger arts community.” This is an ideal opportunity for people who are interested in the fine arts. The Cool Arts Society needs volunteers with experience in the fine arts to assist with arts classes, as well as a Studio Monitor to maintain the studio space.
Bring the World to Kelowna with the Fat Cat Children’s Festival
The Fat Cat Children’s Festival (www.fatcatfestival.ca) takes place at Waterfront Park in downtown Kelowna and is a celebration of entertainment and hands-on learning opportunities for Okanagan families as well as visitors. The festival is committed to bringing the world to Kelowna for a weekend and relies on volunteers and community partners to help make it happen. Programming aims to include world-class performers from within the Central Okanagan region as well as from the rest of Canada and abroad. Volunteering at the Fat Cat Festival is a great way to meet families and make new friends while enjoying the festivities. The Fat Cat Festival needs volunteers for its setup & takedown crew, its litter pickup team, and it technical support and equipment troubleshooting team, as well as parking lot attendants and traffic control officers.
It’s all About Heart at the Kelowna Dragon Boat Festival
The Okanagan Dragon Boat Racing Club and the Kelowna Dragon Boat Club (www.kelownadragonboatclub.com) will never leave you up the creek without a paddle. With “22 hearts beating as one” as their motto, the Kelowna Dragon Boat Community understands giving back. Dragon boating welcomes people of all abilities and level of competition and has something for everyone. There are competitive, corporate and recreational teams as well as teams made up of and dedicated to breast cancer survivors and awareness with names like Bustn’ Loose and Northbreast Passage. The Dragon Boat Festival needs volunteers to set up chairs and tends in the beer garden and to help dragon boaters into and out of their boats. Boating, bonding, biceps and beer – 4 great reasons to volunteer. Still haven’t found what you’re looking for? The Kelowna Community Resource Center (www.kcr.ca) is another great place for you to click to find a volunteer gig that clicks. Whether you’re new to volunteering or looking to expand your volunteer horizons, you can count on knowing that your help is needed and will be appreciated. You can explore volunteer options based on your interests, experience and availability or just go with your gut and jump right in. No matter where you choose to give in the Kelowna community, you’re guaranteed to get back even more.