Thank You Shelter Volunteers!

This week we would like to send out a special thanks to all the wonderful people who generously give their time to help people in need. Volunteer support is an essential part of the personal comfort and care that foster the feelings of belonging, dignity, and hope that are an essential part of the journey out of homelessness. Shelter Volunteers provide more than a shower, chess game, or a new pair of shoes. Shelter Volunteers show us that everyone is unique and valuable. They remind us that wherever we are, someone cares about us and wants to help.

To celebrate their gift, we’d like to introduce you to some of the unique individuals that mean so much to us:

Kyle, Carli and Erin open the Rock Bay Landing hygiene Erin Kyle Carliestation, which allows people to access showers and the clothing room. They clean counters, fill shampoo containers, and bring in cookies we’ve made for people to enjoy. Carli’s favourite part is bringing in cookies to share, while Kyle’s favourite job is sorting donated clothes and making new friends. What’s the most important part of volunteering to them? “Be kind, be kind, be kind!”

 

Zohar SZohar helps people access the public computers at Rock Bay Landing. “The reason I come to volunteer each week is the joy I have from the positive interaction with staff and clients. I feel I am appreciated for making a difference each time I come. The training workshops Cool Aid offers it’s volunteers are great and have helped me understand the social issues in our community. Volunteering creates awareness and is a great way to meet different people.”

 

Geri facilitates an open art therapy studio at Sandy Merriman House that isSMH1 Geri open to all women, whether they reside at the shelter or not. “I come every week because I feel making art is empowering in positive, nurturing ways. I see relaxation, social interaction, and building communication skills. There is a healing component in creativity. I am motivated by the courage and emotional strength it takes to survive in poverty, isolation and homelessness. I cannot imagine myself homeless, yet I try to be aware that it is always a possibility. Things can happen to any one of us that put us in that position.”

Eric M When Eric isn’t volunteering at Cool Aid’s shelters, he is serving our community through the armed forces, volunteering with AIDS Vancouver Island’s Men’s Wellness Program, or helping people prepare for the next Times Colonist 10K as a TC10K Clinic leader. “I volunteer with the hygiene department to ensure that people have access to clean clothes, showers, and shower supplies, and have a friendly face to say hi to. My favourite part is seeing the difference that a shower and clean clothes makes in someone’s life.”

 

Kat and Carmelle volunteer their acupuncture skills at Cool Aid shelters. Carmelle describes her volunteer role as “a needle poker, space holder, story listener, and herb smudger. I’m giving back to the community I came from. As an inner city youth I didn’t have access to a lot of health services. its extremely rewarding to offer the support to others you wish you had. There is a kinship that exists among people with a shared experience and it makes the work healing for me, too.”

Kat is a re-defining immigrant, slow-food cyclist, free range mom and realistic acupuncturist. “Homelessness in Victoria can be anybody: a mother, brother, grandparent or youth. Taking personal responsibility for the most vulnerable individuals in our community impacts your dignity, not just
theirs.”

On behalf of the hundreds of people you bring smiles to every day, thank you!

Thank you Volunteers!

We couldn’t be more proud of our volunteers and the work they do each year to help thousands of people overcome homelessness.

This week is National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and we are so excited to say a big thank you for all the support they provide. Volunteers help Cool Aid clients:

  • Stay healthyderek-ford-volunteers
  • Make a friend
  • Start healthy habits
  • Have someone to talk to
  • Find the supports they need
  • Find clean clothes and do laundry
  • Receive a Christmas present
  • Feel like someone cares about them
  • Make new homes and services possible
  • Have a second meal that day
  • Learn to express themselves through art
  • Feel included and welcome in our community

And so much more.

Volunteers, whether you give an hour or a month, know that all of us at Cool Aid are profoundly grateful for your help in ending homelessness.

Together, we come a little closer every year!

A good will makes all the difference

To everyone reading this, the Victoria Cool Aid Society wants you to lead a long, happy life. As part of Make-a-Will Week in British Columbia (April 6-12), we also urge you to reach out to your professional advisor and write or update your will. Having an up-to-date will is the best way to protect the interests of your children and loved ones, and to ensure that your favourite charities receive the bequest you may wish to give.

If you have never considered a will, it’s the perfect time to start! There are some easy resources to help you planning:

Cool Aid cannot provide legal advice on how to write your will although we are happy to talk to you about our work and your wishes. If you are considering a bequest to Cool Aid, talk to your lawyer, notary or financial advisor about the right method of giving for you. For more information about leaving a bequest in your will for Cool Aid, click here or contact Alan Rycroft (250-414-4781, arycroft@CoolAid.org) or Kathy Stinson (250-383-1977).

If you do decide to leave a gift in your will to Cool Aid, we appreciate hearing about it. Knowing your wishes will help ensure that your gift is used as intended. Knowing you personally allows us to thank you today for your future generosity.