Volunteers Make an Impact by Helping those on their Journey

Volunteer55 - John Howard Society of Okanagan & Kootenay

Volunteers Make an Impact by Helping those on their Journey

What is your name and position?
Aidan O’Callahan, CSC Volunteer Coordinator

What is the name of your organization?
John Howard Society of Okanagan & Kootenay

What is your organization’s mission?
JHSOK works with The Correctional Service of Canada on this volunteer program. The Correctional Service of Canada, as part of the criminal justice system and respecting the rule of law, contributes to public safety by actively encouraging and assisting offenders to become law-abiding citizens, while exercising reasonable, safe, secure and humane control.

Tell us about your organization.
You will have the unique opportunity to work with Kelowna Parole in order to assist with offender reintegration. CSC is committed to providing resources for offenders to reintegrate back into the community and volunteers are central to this journey. CSC is the Canadian federal government agency responsible for the incarceration and rehabilitation of convicted criminal offenders sentenced to two years or more.

What special attributes of your volunteer program/culture would you like to highlight? Why would I want to volunteer with your organization?
Volunteers with CSC will become knowledgeable on the process of offender reintegration, codes of conduct, and structure of corrections. Volunteers will be able to assist offenders with a wide variety of goals that can shape their journey adjusting back into the community. Volunteers will have many rewarding experiences as they commit to their volunteer role working with Kelowna Parole, offenders, and the CSC Volunteer Coordinator.

What types of volunteer opportunities are available with your organization?
Volunteers should expect a medium to long-term commitment due to the role and responsibilities. However, hours are flexible. Volunteers can work virtual and in-person, but in-person volunteer activities are preferred. We hope to have a diverse pool of volunteer applicants with a wide variety of knowledge and skills.

Are there any special requirements, timelines, or commitments you would like to let potential volunteers know about?
Volunteers will have to undergo background checks in order to comply with Federal volunteer guidelines. The application process can be lengthy, but is entirely worth it for the committed applicant.

What impacts do volunteers have on your organization?
Volunteers are central to the Correctional Service of Canada. Volunteers bridge the gap and provide direct support to offenders in need. Volunteers also work directly with the CSC Volunteer Coordinator who is connected with Parole.

How many volunteers support your organization?
The Correctional Service of Canada has over 4,500 volunteers working across the country.

Who do the volunteers interact with? Staff, community?
Volunteers interact directly with offenders in the community and the Volunteer Coordinator. The Volunteer Coordinator works closely with Kelowna Parole.

If I wanted to volunteer with your organization, what are the steps I would need to take?
Interested volunteers should email volunteer@jhsok.ca for next steps in applying.

Tell us about how you have adapted your volunteer programs during the pandemic (if applicable).
Volunteers have still been able to assist offenders despite the pandemic. Helping virtually during lockdowns has allowed for volunteers to help and stay connected with those in need.

What is one of your favourite volunteering stories?
Important work is completed by CSC Volunteers on a daily basis. We take the utmost care in ensuring the confidentiality of our volunteers and the offenders we work with.

We want to know what volunteers mean to you.
Volunteers make a lasting impact by helping those on the journey of reintegrating back into the community. Volunteers dedicate their skills and knowledge to assist those in need and can help shape the direction of someone’s life.

Email: volunteer@jhsok.ca
Website: johnhowardbc.ca/okanagan-kootenay/volunteer/kelowna-parole-volunteer-program
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