Where to volunteer in Lac La Biche County
Tuesday, Jan 10, 2012 01:36 pm
If your New Year’s Resolution was to get more involved in the community, help others, or just meet new people — this article is a great place to start.
Last week, the Post crowned “The Volunteer” as the person of the year. Throughout Lac La Biche County, people are more than willing to donate their money and volunteer their time, skill, and passion to improving the community.
So, if you’ve never volunteered before or if you’re looking for a new way to get involved, with the community here’s a list of places looking for your help.
You could start by saving lives with the brave souls in the volunteer fire departments or help nurture the next generation by spending time at local schools.
Just be aware that most, if not all, of the volunteer positions require a criminal background check. And if you’re working with children, it’s likely you’ll need a child welfare check.
Besides the volunteer opportunities listed below, you can also join a service club like the Kinsmen or the Kinettes, the Rotary Club, the Elks, the Royal Purple, the Knights of Columbus, or the Hospital Auxiliary. And Recreation and Agriculture societies throughout Lac La Biche County are always looking for new members.
Every group the Post talked to said that volunteers make a huge difference. In some cases, they say the group wouldn’t even exist if it weren’t for the unselfish efforts of the people of Lac La Biche County.
Hope Haven Women’s Shelter
Who they are: “We provide a safe, secure place for families dealing with abuse,” said executive director Cassie Putnam. “We help them move forward in whatever way we can.”
You can help by: Helping with fundraisers like bingos or casinos. Working with the children. Doing landscaping, like lawn maintenance in the summer or snow removal in the winter. Or joining the board of directors.
Contact: Cassie Putnam 780-623-3100
Lac La Biche Canadian Native Friendship Centre
Who they are: “We are a community centre that’s open to people from all walks of life,” said Friendship Centre employee Erin Thomas. “We offer culturally sensitive programming and services to the community.”
You can help by: Stocking, maintaining and displaying donated food and clothing and other items. Working at a fundraising bingo. Being on standby for the soup kitchen is also a great way to get involved.
Contact: Erin Thomas 780-623-3249
Lac La Biche Heritage Society
Who they are: “Our members are 50-plus,” said society president Anne Lemay. “The men have coffee twice a week and the women meet to do crafts. We play cards, bingo, and soon we’ll have shuffleboard.”
You can help by: Helping with the upcoming Lakeland Summer Games, Aug. 14-16, by preparing and delivering food. Working the kitchen for the crib tournament Jan. 26. And helping with other events as they come.
Contact: Anne Lemay 780-623-4787
Program for Adult Learning
Who they are: A centre in Lac La Biche that offers adults help in improving their literacy and math skills, as well as English as a second language.
You can help by: Tutoring adult learners one-on-one in reading, writing and math. Help to teach English language classes. Help seniors interested in learning more about how to use a computer.
Contact: PAL office
780 623 2477
Who they are: An organization that provides support to victims of crime and tragedy across the county.
You can help by: Being on call to offer emotional support to someone when needed.
Contact: Melody 780-623-7770
Out of the Cold
Who they are: A seasonal men’s shelter that operates out of the Victory Church in Lac La Biche.
“It’s a warm place to sleep for someone who doesn’t have one,” said program co-ordinator CJ Lanning.
You can help by: Working on intake from 8-11 p.m., and offering men who come in something hot to drink
Contact: CJ Lanning 780-623-1073 or 780-404-1744.
Who they are: An independent living facility for seniors in Lac La Biche. It enhances seniors’ lives by offering more than just basic needs by organizing trips and activities.
You can help by: There’s something for everyone to do — you can help by doing activities with residents, sharing your musical talents, going on trips, helping in their store, visiting the residents, running errands, or even doing some paperwork.
Contact: Amy or Priscilla 780-623-4364
The Bold Center
Who they are: A 233,000 square-foot facility in the Hamlet of Lac La Biche, offering sports, fitness, and community events year round.
You can help by: Working with the after-school drop-in program. Sharing a skill with a class (sculpting, painting, knitting, etc.). Working with at the child- care centre.
Contact: The human resources department at Lac La Biche County 780-623-1747
William J. Cadzow Healthcare Centre
Who they are: Acute and continuing care facility in the heart of Lac La Biche County with pharmacy, rehabilitation, laboratory, and X-Ray services.
You can help by: Helping with outings and special events, or sharing talents like playing music to patients. Contact: Trish in Therapeutic Recreations Services 780-623-4904 ext. 277
Big Brothers and Sisters
Who they are: “An older person mentoring a younger person to make a difference in their life,” says Melanie Hunter, a match caseworker for the organization. The organization works throughout the county.
You can help by: If you’re a student, you can mentor a younger child one-on-one in-school for one hour a week. Community-based volunteers spend two hours with the children weekly. Mentors help improve the childrens’ self-confidence and self-esteem, as well as their academic performance in school.
Contact: Melanie Hunter 780-623-0380
Lac La Biche Group Home
Who they are: A home for youth aged 10-17 who for whatever reason can’t live in the foster care system.
You can help by: Taking the youth to the Bold Center for some recreation. Spending time with the kids and sharing skills, like music or art. Having one- on-one time out in the community.
Contact: Tim Thompson 780-623-2596
Lac La Biche Players
Who they are: A theatre group in Lac La Biche that features local talent in bi-annual performances.
You can help by: You don’t have to act to get involved with the productions, you can help backstage by doing make-up, making props, helping out actors.
Contact: Karen Perry 780 623 5551 or Bonita Decaire 780-520-1718.
Who they are: A not-for-profit organization that helps expand and forster relationships within the local economy.
You can help by: If you’re a student, you can join the youth media group. Through workshops, you can learn about working with radio, TV and newspapers, and then use your new skills by helping promote other local non-profit organizations.
Contact: Jaclyn Denman 780-623-2662
There’s even some dog-gone good volunteer opportunities for non-human helpers.
You can get your pooch involved as a volunteer therapy dog at William J. Cadzow (provided your four-legged friend has passed a veterinarian pet-therapy inspection). If you’re willing to get your pet certified as a therapy animal, you can bring them in for pet-therapy sessions with the patients.
Teachers are busy people and can use all the help they can get. Be aware that all the schools require criminal record and child welfare checks.
Vera M. Welsh
Who they are: K-3 school in the Hamlet of Lac La Biche
You can help by: Reading to classes or spending one-on-one time with students. Working on bulletin boards and helping with events.
Contact: Sylvia Malo or Dana Robb 780-623-4672
Who they are: Grades 4-5 in the Hamlet of Lac La Biche
You can help by: Reading with the students and working on bulletin boards. Spending individual time with students or cook hot dogs on special days. Or by using your skills to start a club (like a model airplane or LEGO club).
Contact: Blair Norton 780-623-4215
Dr. Swift Middle School
Who they are: Grades 6-8 in the Hamlet of Lac La Biche
You can help by: Coaching and supporting sports teams. Collecting recycling from school and driving to depot for return. Tutoring students in various subjects. Running the science club.
Contact: Rob Wicker 780-623-4129
Who they are: K-8 in the Kikino Métis Settlement
You can help by: Supervising recess times, working in the library, or helping with special events like the upcoming Ski Fit day. The school also has a volunteer passport, where different activities earn stamps which that can be entered for prizes.
Contact: Laurie Thompson or Kristen Shewchuk-White 780-623-3153
Amisk Community School
Who they are: K-8 in Beaver Lake Cree Nation
You can help by: Reading with students. Working in the library. Supervising during recess and gym times.
Contact: Cathy Whitford 780-623-4548
École Plamondon School
Who they are: K-12 in the Hamlet of Plamondon
You can help by: Driving the school’s minibus, provided you have the proper license. This would involve driving sports teams or classes to events. Chaperoning field trips. Spending time in the library or in the classroom.
Contact: Morris Holota 780-798-3840
J.A. Williams High School
Who they are: Grades 9-12 in the Hamlet of Lac La Biche
You can help by: Working in the kitchen or cafeteria. Sorting recycling, or helping with the sports teams.
Contact: Terry Moghrabi 780-623-4271
Volunteer Fire Departments
The local smoke-eaters are actively looking for new recruits. The fire captains said you don’t need to run headfirst into burning buildings to be a firefighter. As long as you show up to a minimum number of weekly practices, you can be a part of the team.
So if you’ve got the stuff to be a hero in your community, then get in touch with the county’s Manager of Protective Servies Mitch Newton at 780-623-6767, who can direct you to your local hall.