New coordinator for the Sooke Volunteer centree Johanne Thompson.

Finding community through volunteers

New coordinator for the Sooke Volunteer Centre talks of plans

She’s the mother of four, a volunteer with the Saseenos PAC, a member of the Sooke Harbour Players and if that isn’t enough she now has a part time job as the new coordinator for the Sooke Volunteer Centre. As the old saying goes, “ask a busy person…”

Johanne Thompson wants to get things done. She took on the one year contract and will be working for 10 hours a week approaching agencies and groups to find out what their needs are in terms of volunteers.

“We are trying to interlace all of these agencies and find a way to support them,” said Thompson. She wants to know which groups need volunteers as well as the other side — people who are looking to give back to the community and may not know how.

Since she has just begun her year-long task, she is seeking input from all of the volunteers groups and organizations in the  Sooke region.

She hasn’t found any common theme yet among the organizations she has spoken to, but one of the ideas is to have a training session for non-profits and finding ways to streamline the volunteer recruitment process.

The big question is, what would they like to see?

“We’re here, we’re starting and we are trying to join up with events going on in Sooke,” said Thompson.

The Volunteer Centre will be present at the Rotary Spring Auction as well as at the Sooke Community Association’s 75th anniversary event.

“There are lots of groups doing lots of good in the community. We want to raise the profile of the groups as well. Everyone needs volunteers,” she said.

The Volunteer Centre is looking at the feasibility of including the Westshore community into the mix.

In her previous reincarnation, Johanne Thompson, who lives in East Sooke, managed the recreation department in a seniors’ home. She is a graduate of the Leadership Victoria Graduate Program. This is an intensive eight-month long training program for different types of managers from different genres —  everything from government to non-profit to private.

“My group completed an inter-generational project with youth and seniors for the municipality of Saanich,” said Thompson.

Johanne Thompson can be reached via email at: volunteersooke@yahoo.ca and more information is available on their website at: www.sookeregionresources.com.

The website offers a calendar of local activities, list of resources, volunteer opportunities, links to local groups and a whole lot more. Sooke Region Resources is an initiative of the Sooke Region Community Health Initiative (CHI).

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