Oak Bay Volunteer Services (OBVS) holds its second annual Volunteer Fair, Saturday, Jan. 19 at the Monterey Recreation Centre.
The event is co-organized by the Monterey centre, and the Community Association of Oak Bay. The fair is advertised as an opportunity for adults and teens to find volunteer placements in and around Oak Bay.
“What we have is almost sort of a trade fair setup,” said Renee Lormé-Gulbrandsen, OBVS executive director. “We have booths around the Monterey Rec. Centre, and we offer free drinks and light snacks. Local businesses will provide door prizes, and then people can come and have a conversation with all the different organizations and individuals who are volunteering in Oak Bay specifically.”
There should be at least 25 booths, but Lormé-Gulbrandsen hopes for 30. She said that Oak Bay has a deep volunteering community and most volunteers are retirees, many able to volunteer for multiple organizations concurrently.
“To me there’s always a place for young people to participate because you know we are actually creating those little seeds of volunteerism so that when somebody gets to a different stage in their life and they say, ‘boy! I have a lot more time to volunteer, why don’t I look to some volunteering?’” Lormé-Gulbrandsen said.
She went on to note that across Canada, most volunteers are aging. Lormé-Gulbrandsen said that the fair will have one-off opportunities for volunteering – something that can be popular for people with busy work or school schedules – as well as chances to get in a workout while volunteering.
In Oak Bay, that’s also a demographic that requires some extra help.
The most popular service offered by OBVS is driving. OBVS keeps a list and schedule of volunteer drivers to take residents who are unable to make do by bus or taxi. The service is primarily used by older people who don’t have access to personal vehicles.
“We have roughly 60 drivers at the moment,” Lormé-Gulbrandsen said. “We have the biggest call for that, [it’s] always the biggest need for volunteers.”
Lormé-Gulbrandsen notes that drivers can be reimbursed for their mileage, and that OBVS works around a volunteer’s schedule. Taking off on a cruise for a month wouldn’t disqualify someone from a volunteer roster.
Those looking to get involved in the community can find more information at the volunteer fair, Jan. 19 between 1:30 and 4 p.m. at 1442 Monterey Ave.