This week is National Volunteer Week, and while many volunteer programs at PHSA have paused due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we still want to celebrate those individuals who have given their time and talents to enhance the health care experience for our patients, families and other clients we serve. We are grateful for their generous spirits, boundless energy and continued compassion, and are excited to welcome them back to our sites very soon.
The volunteer program at BC Children’s and BC Women’s is in its first phase of restoration, with volunteers providing services at two off-site thrift shops and the on-site gift shops, in addition to escorting patients and families to their destinations, providing vaccine clinic support and volunteering at home through activities like participating in advisory and focus groups and sewing. The second phase will include re-entering volunteers at the Sibling Centre and in care units, and re-introducing the Child Life and Fun Cart. “We miss having our volunteers on site,” says Pat Gillis, manager of volunteer resources, “and we’re all looking forward to a robust return in the near future.”
Read more about the volunteers at BC Children’s, BC Women’s and Sunny Hill!
BC Transplant works with 180 active volunteers (transplant recipients, living donors, donor family members and supporters) across the province who typically take part in a number of in-person community events, registration booths and presentations to help raise awareness on organ donation. In light of COVID-19, this dedicated group has had to suspend in-person activities to stay safe, but their giving spirit is still strong!
One of the volunteers who has embraced pandemic life is Freddie Marsh. Freddie is a living kidney donor from New Westminster and has presented virtually to the Rotary Club of New Westminster and Simon Fraser University’s Blood, Organ and Stem Cell Club on organ transplant and donation. He’s also donated funds towards BC Transplant’s “Live Life. Pass It On.”
scholarship available to Grade 12 students who organize an organ donation awareness campaign in the schools/communities. Thank you, Freddie, for helping us raise awareness – even if it is through virtual means!
The Disaster Psychosocial Services program maintains a network of professional mental health and psychosocial volunteers who support communities in the aftermath of emergencies and disasters on behalf of Health Emergency Management BC and PHSA. Since the program’s inception in 2000, DPS volunteers have ensured that disaster psychosocial considerations like individual psychosocial first aid, crisis counselling and stress management remain at the forefront of B.C.’s emergency response structure. DPS volunteers have been deployed across British Columbia as well as Canada in response to emergencies of all types, from apartment fires and critical incidents to the 2017 Alberta wildfires, and have continued to provide services virtually during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to this unique and dedicated group of volunteers whose work makes a difference in the lives of those in distress.
To all PHSA volunteers, thank you! You lift us up and make us better through your contributions, big and small. You are an invaluable part of the PHSA family and we are grateful for each of you. Can’t wait to see you back in action!