When Disaster Strikes, Count on the HEMBC’s Disaster Psychosocial Support (DPS) team

When Disaster Strikes, Count on the HEMBC’s Disaster Psychosocial Support (DPS) team

UBC Emergency Preparedness exercise DPS participants

Supporting Individuals Affected By Disasters

Disasters are inevitable, and right now, the most imminent risk to British Columbians is wildfire season. More than one million hectares (approx. 2 million football fields) have already burned. It’s easy to see the impact on our forests and the surrounding communities, but the emotional toll on those affected can sometimes go unnoticed—that’s where Disaster Psychosocial Support (DPS) comes in.

When disaster strikes, count on the Disaster Psychosocial Support team

A service within Health Emergency Management BC (HEMBC), DPS provides psychosocial support to individuals, families and communities affected by emergencies like wildfires, floods, earthquakes and more. The DPS team is comprised of HEMBC staff, and a network of professionals including social workers, counselors, psychotherapists, pastoral care, victim service workers, psychologists and others who volunteer their services over and above their regular jobs.


DPS Volunteer Stories – Making a Positive Difference 

Dr. Laurie Pearce, one of the founding members of DPS, helped start the program over 20 years ago after realizing a gap in disaster response. Laurie, a registered social worker, now teaches disaster management at a number of colleges and universities in British Columbia, including Royal Roads University and the Justice Institute of British Columbia.

“Disaster emergency management has been a long-time passion of mine,” says Laurie. “Early on in my career when I was working for the Ministry of Children and Family Development, I noticed that while there was support in terms of putting people up in hotels, or providing vouchers for food to evacuees, no one was looking after their psychosocial needs. It was important to me to ensure that support was available.”

“As a DPS volunteer, we meet people when they are facing some of the worst times of their lives. Some have just lost their homes and possessions, or had family members who have died or been injured. Our job is to provide them with the tools they need to connect and move forward, and ease some of the consequences of the trauma they’ve just experienced. It feels really good to be able to make that positive difference in people’s lives and that’s why I keep coming back to it,” says Laurie.

Susan Viveiros, a counselor from Terrace B.C., was recently deployed by DPS to support the wildfire in Burns Lake. She worked in the Emergency Operations Centre supporting emergency professionals. 

Susan joined the DPS team earlier this year and has already supported a number of disasters and emergency events. She joined both because of the altruistic nature of the work and the opportunity to provide support to individuals who have just gone through a traumatic experience. 

“Even though they are trained professionals, everyone can use a little support,” said Susan. “Sometimes we don’t realize all of the things going on in the background. Every conversation I had, I was giving somebody something, making them aware of how they can help themselves from managing stress and beyond.”

Susan Viveiros (left) and Dr. Laurie Pearce (right)

Become a DPS 

Are you interested in providing psychosocial support in the form of psychological first aid to persons and communities impacted by emergencies and disasters? Join the DPS network by submitting your volunteer​ application online. Volunteers must have a level of education, training and experience equivalent to a Bachelor’s degree in a related field, plus a minimum of five (5) years’ recent and related experience working with clients in the field of social work, mental health, counseling, crisis response, or similar profession. For more information, please visit www.phsa.ca/dps.

Pitt Meadows Emergency Preparedness exercise DPS participants

Flood volunteers enjoying a post-work milkshake

For more volunteer opportunities, check out Volunteer Now on our website for all the latest postings and information.

Want to learn about emerging trends and how to adapt to the changing landscape of volunteering? Join us October 26 & 27 at the VolunteerBCACG Conference for nonprofits, charities and volunteers. This event is your chance to discover new approaches and reimagine how your organization can thrive.

Secure your spot now!

Volunteer Centre Highlight: Volunteer Kamloops – Empowering Community through Service

Volunteer Centre Highlight: Volunteer Kamloops – Empowering Community through Service

Pastor of Hills of Peach Lutheran Church at Volunteer Kamloops 2nd Annual Volunteer Fair 

Volunteer Centres play an important part in local communities to strengthen volunteering. In the vibrant city of Kamloops, one organization has been making a remarkable difference for nearly forty years – Volunteer Kamloops. Dedicated to connecting volunteers with various non-profit agencies, Volunteer Kamloops plays a crucial role in supporting the community. In this blog post we’ll explore how this organization helps bring people together and make a positive impact on the city.

Supporting Non-Profit Agencies

Volunteer Kamloops serves as a community supporter by assisting over 60 non-profit organizations. These agencies run a wide range of programs that benefit Kamloops as a whole. By recruiting and connecting volunteers with these organizations, Volunteer Kamloops helps keep these essential programs running smoothly.

Connecting Volunteers and Opportunities

With over 800 volunteers annually, Volunteer Kamloops acts as a bridge between enthusiastic individuals and volunteering opportunities that suit their interests and skills. When an agency partners with Volunteer Kamloops, the volunteer roles are posted on their website and promoted through social media channels. This increased visibility helps attract more volunteers, ensuring that the programs receive the support they need.

The Power of Volunteering 

The staff and board members of Volunteer Kamloops share a deep passion for volunteering. Many of them began their volunteer journey at a young age and have continued to contribute throughout their adult lives. Volunteering not only allows you to give back to your community but also provides personal growth and fulfillment. 

Volunteer Kamloops has been instrumental in supporting the community of Kamloops for decades. By connecting volunteers with non-profit agencies and offering a variety of volunteering opportunities, Volunteer Kamloops enables individuals to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. If you’re looking to give back and make a positive impact, consider joining Volunteer Kamloops – a place where your efforts can truly change lives. 

Getting Involved

If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer, getting involved with Volunteer Kamloops is simple. Take the first step in finding the perfect volunteer role by visiting their website, create an account and fill out an application form. Volunteer Kamloops’ Link Coordinator will then provide guidance and help narrow down the options that best match your interests and skills.

For more information on Volunteer Kamloops you can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

Looking for a volunteer position? Volunteer Centres can help – find a volunteer centre near you.  Volunteer BC also provides Volunteer Now – a free listing of volunteer opportunities all over the province. Check it out here!

Our Conference Registration is Live!

Our Conference Registration is Live!

Our conference registration is now open!

 

Until September 6th, we have early bird pricing available for $25 off both member and non-member tickets! Don’t miss out on this great deal.

Join Volunteer BC & BC Association for Charitable Gaming (BCACG) at the River Rock Casino Resort, Richmond for two days of inspiring sessions. This event is your chance to discover new approaches and reimagine how your organizations can thrive. Everyone welcome! 

Keynote: Mike Shaw – Never Part of The Plan: A Story of Courage, Resilience, and Gratitude

Other Sessions: Emerging Trends in Volunteerism; Non-Profit Cybersecurity Fundamentals; Unique Funding Opportunities & Community Gaming Grant Updates; Creating a Welcoming & Inclusive Volunteer Program & more.

 

Date: October 26 & 27, 2023

Fees: $300 (member) – $475 (non-member)

Location: River Rock Casino Resort, Richmond, BC

Registration includes: 

  • 2 breakfasts + 2 lunches + refreshments
  • All workshops, networking sessions and handouts/resources
  • Complimentary parking at a four-diamond casino property/resort

 

For more information visit https://volunteerbcacgconference.com/

Volunteer BC & BCACG Conference for Non-profits, Charities, & Volunteers | Oct 26 & 27

Volunteer BC & BCACG Conference for Non-profits, Charities, & Volunteers | Oct 26 & 27

Highlights from the 2022 BC & BCACG Conference

Join Volunteer BC & BC Association for Charitable Gaming (BCACG) at the River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond for two days of practical workshops. This event is your chance to discover new approaches and reimagine how your organizations can thrive. Everyone welcome! 

Sessions:

– Emerging Trends in Volunteerism

– Non-Profit Cybersecurity Fundamentals

– Unique Funding Opportunities & Community Gaming Grant Updates 

– Creating a Welcoming & Inclusive Volunteer Program

  & more!

Date: October 26 & 27, 2023

Fees: $300 (member) – $475 (non-member)

Location: River Rock Casino Resort, Richmond, BC

Registration includes:

– 2 breakfasts + 2 lunches + refreshments

– All workshops, networking sessions and handouts/resources

– Complimentary parking at a four-diamond casino property/resort

For more info: https://volunteerbcacgconference.com/

Volunteering with the RCMP: Making a Difference in Your Community

Volunteering with the RCMP: Making a Difference in Your Community

Surrey RCMP Employee helping out at their Annual Open House

Volunteering is a powerful way to give back to society and contribute to the betterment of your community. We spoke with Volunteer BC Member, Mandy Abrahamsen, Volunteer Engagement Project Leader at the Surrey Royal Canadian Mounted Police, on the impact and opportunities for volunteering with the RCMP. In this blog post, we will delve into the role of the RCMP as volunteer community supporters, the services they offer, how to start volunteering with them, and the significant impact volunteers have on creating safer communities.

Who are the RCMP as volunteer community supporters?

The RCMP recruits members of the general public who are eager to dedicate their time and efforts to reducing crime and supporting crime prevention strategies. They act as the eyes and ears of the RCMP with the following services:

  • actively patrolling neighborhoods on foot or bicycles
  • conducting checks in parkades and unmarked vehicles 
  • attending community events to provide security
  • track license plates and monitor speeding

How do volunteers help the community?

Volunteers play a crucial role in making communities safer. The presence of volunteers on foot patrols or bike patrols acts as a deterrent to potential criminal activities. Their vigilance and reporting of suspicious activities enable the RCMP to respond effectively and prevent incidents before they escalate. 

How can people get involved with the RCMP as volunteers?

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer with the RCMP, the first step is to contact your local RCMP detachment. The detachment will inform you if they have a volunteer program and put you in touch with a volunteer coordinator who will guide you through the application process. The application process is similar to a job application and may include providing references and participating in interviews. 

Is your organization struggling with volunteer management? Consider becoming a Volunteer BC member and enjoy our “Ask an Expert” benefit that gives you access to Anne-Marie Koeppen and Cari Moore, our very own Volunteer Management experts!

Volunteering with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police is a remarkable opportunity to actively participate in promoting community safety and reducing crime. By offering your time and skills as an RCMP volunteer, you become an essential part of the ongoing effort to make communities safer places to live and work. The RCMP is constantly seeking volunteer support, and now, more than ever, the need for community engagement is evident. Volunteering with the RCMP not only allows you to develop valuable skills and experience but also provides a unique chance to work alongside law enforcement professionals and positively impact the lives of those around you. Take the first step today and contact your local RCMP detachment to explore the rewarding world of RCMP volunteering.

For more volunteer opportunities, check out Volunteer Now on our website for all the latest postings and information.