Submitted by Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors (TAPS)
When you volunteer, you discover the most important things you have to offer are not things at all! As a result, you begin to realize your time, presence, and attention are great resources. Undoubtedly, seniors make up a large percentage of volunteers and are fundamental to many community groups and organizations. However, volunteers of all agesare equally important.
In 2018, Statistics Canada reported that almost 22.7 million people volunteered informally – accounting for 74 per cent of Canadians aged 15 and older. Volunteers devoted roughly 3.4 billion hours, which represents the equivalent of approximately 1.8 million full-time year-round jobs. In our valley, even without having statistics to demonstrate how many people contribute to the community, it is clear that we are caring and committed. This is evidenced by the number of organizations, events, and services that are supported through volunteer efforts.
A study by TD Bank surveyed Canadians about why they volunteer. Over 90 per cent reported that they volunteered because they wanted to make a positive contribution to the community. Close to 80 per cent cited the ability to use their skills and experience as reasons for volunteering, while having friends or acquaintances already doing volunteer work was another important factor. A smaller percentage (22 per cent) reported volunteering as a means of helping find a job. The Therapeutic Activation Program for Seniors (TAPS) and Better at Home programs under Valley Community Services (VCS) offer varied, flexible volunteer opportunities.
Since 2005, TAPS has supported seniors to remain independent in their home and community. The program provides transportation, nutrition, and activity supports for seniors. Over the years, the contribution of our volunteers has become impossible to quantify, but the program would not be such a great success without them. From a fundraising group (the Krafty Kronys) to program and special events helpers, the work of volunteers supports the program and the staff. Volunteers enable us to provide this much needed and valued service. One of our volunteers said, “I look forward to coming here, it makes my day.” And another said, “Volunteering here saved my life.”
Volunteers in the Better at Home program have been able to help numerous seniors by increasing their social connections (in person and via phone), reducing emergency visits by helping seniors get to their scheduled medical appointments and tests on time, taking people to the grocery stores, and providing minor home repairs. We are always looking for other ways to help seniors in community and working together with other programs to increase our reach.
Both the TAPS and Better at Home programs are looking for people to join their volunteer teams as they gradually re-open in-person services. With flexible hours and roles, you can participate in any way that suits your interests and time. For more information and to arrange an interview, please see contact information in the accompanying ad on this page.