Community Papers

Have you thanked a volunteer this week?


Interior Health is celebrating its thousands of volunteers during National Volunteer Week April 6 – 12. Volunteer Week is an opportunity to recognize and thank volunteers for the work they do to enhance health care delivery throughout the region.

Volunteer recognition events will be held at many local hospitals and residential care facilities throughout the region during the month of April. In other areas, gifts or cards are offered as thanks.

Interior Health is supported by an estimated 4,800 volunteers.

“I really cannot say enough about our volunteers,” said Norman Embree, Interior Health Board Chair.  “We literally could not do what we do without their support.”

In the West Kootenay, Interior Health is celebrating volunteers such as Judy Sorensen, whose volunteer program brings the beauty of art to the residents of the Columbia View Lodge residential care site in Trail. Residents’ awe-inspiring paintings now line the halls of Columbia View and other locations in the region. Sorensen also took it upon herself to research the therapeutic benefits of art, particularly for  individuals with dementia, and conducts her art program in a way that draws from everything art can do to engage and support residents.

“For me, volunteering is just part of what you do. Seeing the residents’ reactions when they see what they have done is very rewarding,” said Sorensen. “It’s important for me to treat people how I would want to be treated. When I have to go to residential care, I would like to have people come by and support me with things like this.”

In the East Kootenay, Interior Health is recognizing volunteers like Odette Rouse in Cranbrook, whose dedicated support of the Cranbrook Health Care Auxiliary Society over the last 32 years helped turn a modest thrift store in a rented basement space into a thriving independent business and part of the community.

“I was very lucky in my own life, so I felt it was important to give back. I truly believe what we are doing with our store serves multiple purposes. Our main goal, of course, is supporting our hospital and patients, but we also support people in the community who need to buy at our store and those looking for a place to donate items. I think if it gives you pleasure in your heart, you are doing the right thing,” said Rouse.

National Volunteer Week is Canada’s largest celebration of volunteers, volunteerism, and civic participation. It deserves to be recognized; across Canada 13.3 million volunteers contribute 2.1 billion total hours.

Interior Health is continually looking for special people to help out in a wide range of volunteer roles. Visit under About Us > Get Involved for volunteer opportunities in your area.

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