Article Image

Volunteer Lethbridge

Photo 2018-09-27, 4 21 49 PM.jpg

Diana Sim

In 1981 a volunteer centre was established within the city of Lethbridge and since then Volunteer Lethbridge has gone through several iterations. In 2000 the organization gained the current name of Volunteer Lethbridge and moved to Deveta Place. Today thanks to a partnership with the University of Lethbridge, they are now located in the Dr Foster James Penny Building. The current executive director Diana Sim joined in 2012 and has been striving to improve the community for the last six years. This isn’t her first rodeo; she has dedicated her career of 42 years to the non-profit sector.

Today, the Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) fund Volunteer Lethbridge through established partnerships with the city. Services have grown and evolved with a strong reputation in the non-profit and voluntary sectors. To date, Volunteer Lethbridge has over 120 member organizations and in 2017 over 900 volunteers have assisted in various projects. “There are 731 non-profit organizations in Lethbridge alone,” explains Diana. Volunteerism benefits the community and valuable experience can be gained. Learning new skills and meeting new people while giving back to the community are just two other outcomes to joining up. “If you’re new to Lethbridge, then volunteering is a great way to get to know the community.” There will always be a need for volunteers with many openings and opportunities. Volunteer Lethbridge can match openings through interests, skills, organizations, and positions as Diana explains “It’s about finding the right match”; “people do want to volunteer and help out”. These opens can fit a wide range of people from youth to adults. Students from Applied Studies or the Co-op program at the University of Lethbridge can explore career options and prepare for the workforce. “We had students experience professional development, mentorship roles and bridge connections.”

One example of a Volunteer Lethbridge project is the Project Paintbrush initiative that runs from May to August. Project Paintbrush is designed to improve the community by assisting seniors and residents with special needs who are financially or physically unable to paint fences or exteriors. This project is open to all volunteers and allows them to gain experience, skills and enjoy the outdoors away from electronics. Call 403 332 4320 to find how you can help out with Project Paintbrush. The project has been to Fort Macleod, Taber, and other parts of Southern Alberta.

Another program that Volunteer Lethbridge has the Human Voice Drive initiative. It is a pilot program where volunteers can go in to get their voice recorded and used in a synthetic speech device. Since the project has started other programs in North America have popped up. These devices allow those that are unable to speak themselves to have an identity and better quality of life.

"It's about finding the right match" 

- Diana Smith 

Looking to the future, Volunteer Lethbridge does not stop here. Diana has been keeping busy this year travelling to Eastern Canada to help enhance and maintain relevance in Lethbridge. Diana asks, “Have you been to our new website?” As of writing this article, Volunteer Lethbridge relaunched its website about a week ago and has over 2000 hits. Also, thanks to the new Pan Canada program, Volunteer Lethbridge can now list volunteer opportunities from across Canada. Currently, Volunteer Lethbridge is working on the Leadership in Asset Management Program (LAMP) which helps to find assets in the community and allow Volunteer Lethbridge to see where the gaps are in the community and how to fill them. Other events include a yearly gift-wrapping event from November 19 to December 24 at the Park Place Mall. For the future, Diana hopes to see more growth and development opportunities in our community and more programs at the provincial level. As Diana says, “I hope to see more social and economic change and diversity
Photo 2018-09-27, 4 24 53 PM.jpg
Article End