Saanich Volunteer Services Society

Celebrating SVSS Volunteers at Our AGM on June 20, 2019

It is our cadre of remarkably dedicated volunteers that enables SVSS to keep making an impact for seniors within our municipality of Saanich.
Our volunteers this year logged over 8,300 hours of service and drove in excess of 63,000 kilometres – equal to an amazing 10 one-way trips across the country from Pacific to Atlantic. We are celebrating all of our wonderful volunteers with special attention to 12 who have reached their 5, 10 and 15 year milestones.
Come join the celebration on Thursday, June 20 from 6 to 8pm at Cedar Hill Golf Course.

2019 Annual General Meeting

As a volunteer, you know that charitable organizations make a difference.

But do you know how big that difference is?
Join us at the AGM, where the Victoria Foundation’s Robert Janus will share the findings of a fascinating study that measured the impact of the Charitable Sector in the Capital Region

‘Civil Society Impact’
Measuring economic and social activity in the Victoria Capital Region -a partnership project between the Victoria Foundation and the UVic-

Thursday, June 20, 2019 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Cedar Hill Golf Course 1400 Derby Road


Please RSVP by: Monday, June 10, 2019
Telephone 250 595-8008
oc@sanichvolunteers.org Recognition and service awards will be extended to our wonderful Volunteers. Light Refreshments will be served

2018 President’s Appeal Campaign Kick Off!

The SVSS annual President’s Appeal Campaign is in full swing.
For over 25 years SVSS volunteers have been providing one on one direct services to those in need in our community.
With your help we can continue to provide these much needed services to a family member, a friend or a neighbour.
Please donate here today.

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Making a Connection: The Karel & Louise Story
We all know that making new friends and connecting with people that we don’t know, even those who live just next door, can be difficult. Sometimes all it takes is for us to be introduced by someone else to realize that we have things in common.

Read the whole story here

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The President’s Appeal Message by Nicole Hamilton, President and Volunteer
Thank you for taking the time to read about Saanich Volunteers. I anticipate that the story of Karel and Louise resonated with many of you, as it did for myself and the rest of the Board of Directors. This is just one story of many that highlights the importance of our organization in our aging and increasingly socially isolated population. This is the reason that we are so passionate about continuing the great work of Saanich Volunteer Services Society!

Read the whole story here

Festive Season Open House

It was an afternoon of good food and great company at our annual festive season open house.
Thanks to all our volunteers and community partners for joining us in our festive celebration. The tasty homemade treats, the festive decorations throughout McRae House and the merry laughter rang out the wonderful spirit of friendship and caring this holiday season brings. Happy Holidays to everyone!

Feature News

Annual General Meeting

SVSS Helps Deliver Groceries to Seniors During COVID-19 - Chek News

COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan

Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program SVSS is part of the Better At Home program and we have partnered with other local BAH organizations to participate in the provincial COVID-19 Emergency Response Plan, Safe Seniors, Strong Communities Program. Volunteer services that the Safe Seniors, Strong Communities program will provide seniors include:

  • Phone and or Virtual Visits
  • Wellness Check-in Calls
  • Grocery Shopping and Delivery
  • Prescription Pickup and Drop-off
Would you be available to help provide these services? If so, please call (250) 595-8008 we would very much appreciate hearing from you.

Breaking News: Dealing with COVID-19 as a Community

Saanich Volunteer Services Society is committed to act in ways that protect the health and well-being of our staff, clients and volunteers, doing so in a manner which is consistent with information provided by Island Health, BC Ministry of Health and the Public Health Agency of Canada.

SVSS has suspended existing client services and programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. SVSS will ensure our client reassurance phone calls and food hamper delivery services are continued during this time of uncertainty.  

Thank you for your understanding as we do our best to serve our clients and community during these unprecedented times.

Please Review Our SVSS COVID-19 Plan and Protocols

SVSS COVID-19 Plan and Protocols

SVSS Risk Assessment & COVID -19 Prevention Plan

Risk assessment is currently LOW, following Public Health Agency of Canada's assessment.
Action taken:
1. SVSS one on one direct volunteer services will be suspended indefinitely
2. SVSS client reassurance phone calls and food hamper delivery services will continue
3. SVSS programs, OTGA and AMD support group gatherings will be suspended indefinitely
4. SVSS grocery shopping bus will suspended indefinitely SVSS Volunteer Advisory Council meetings will be suspended for March and April.

COVID-19 Prevention Protocols

1. Begin or continue a hygiene protocol
    * frequently wash your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based hand ru
    *avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
    *cover cough and sneezes with a tissue or put your face into your elbow, discard tissue in the garbage
     *avoid contact with others through handshaking and hugs or anyone who appears sick  
 2. Connect with your physician and or pharmacy to ensure you have an ample supply of medication.
3. Purchase non-perishable food and cleaning supplies to keep on hand.
4. If you have recently traveled and have signs of illness (cough, fever, runny nose, etc.) evaluate your need to be around those most vulnerable to viral infections and or take precautions by self-quarantining.
5. If you or a member of your household is experiencing virus-like symptoms, evaluate your need to be around those most vulnerable to viral infections and or take precautions by self-quarantining.  
6. Have a plan with family, friends and or neighbours who are available to support you should the virus become active in the community and you require assistance.
7. If you feel unwell and cannot care for yourself, call for assistance:
    *Your personal doctor
    *HealthLink BC 811 (24 hours a day)
     *Island Health (250) 388-2273

COVID-19 Updates
SVSS will do our best to communicate changes to service delivery as the days and weeks unfold. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact our office at (250) 595-8008.

Income Tax Clinic

Income Tax Clinic with Dee and Jean

  • Our trained volunteers file simple, uncomplicated returns for SAANICH residents
  • All returns are e-filed to make the process efficient 
  • Single person limit = $35,000
  • Couple limit = $45,000
    • Both spouses need to be present to file
    • If children 17 years & under living at home, bring their birthdates & legal names
There is no charge for this service.
 For more information call 250 595–8008

2019 President’s Appeal

Dear Friends and Neighbours,

Saanich Volunteer Services Society supports and promotes the wellbeing of Saanich residents through coordinated volunteer services and connections to community resources. For over 27 years, Saanich Volunteers have fostered and supported a truly unique and genuine community of neighbours helping neighbours. Saanich Volunteers provide support services to residents of our community to live independently. One of our most popular services is...

Our Drivers Change Lives …one ride at a time!

The story of Gisele and Roberto is one example from many that tells how truly vital volunteer drives are in the lives of our seniors.

It began many years ago over a traffic argument on a busy boulevard in Mexico City. Gisele was following Parisian road courtesy rules when merging into a lane of traffic. This did not work for Mexican drivers as Roberto tried to explain. They still laugh over their versions of how they met but this year Gisele and Roberto celebrated 67 years of marriage.

After an active and vibrant life...

G and R 2

2019 Annual General Meeting

Thank you to all of our volunteers and guests for attending SVSS 27th Annual General Meeting.

Meet 15 Year Volunteer Service Award Recipients

15 Yrs - Chuck Neilsen, Haji Charania, Acting Mayor Colin Plant

Haji Charania and Chuck Neilson
Haji retired in 2013 and one day while out for a walk he past McRae House and saw the Saanich Volunteer Services Society (SVSS) sign. He decided he would like to volunteer and give back to his community so he joined SVSS. For 7 years Haji was on the SVSS board serving as secretary, vice president, president and past president. Haji is fondly known as the income tax and special event volunteer. He helps at community events and is known to attend Saanich Council meetings taking every opportunity to proudly speak on behalf of SVSS.

  Chuck had a friend who was a driver for SVSS so after retiring he decided to give it a try. Chuck drove for 12 years when he had to stop following major cardiac surgery. But he didn’t give up on volunteering. He started volunteering with the SVSS Food Hamper program – bundling food hampers for our clients at St. John Divine.

SVSSQuote

Celebrating SVSS Volunteers at Our AGM on June 20, 2019

It is our cadre of remarkably dedicated volunteers that enables SVSS to keep making an impact for seniors within our municipality of Saanich.
Our volunteers this year logged over 8,300 hours of service and drove in excess of 63,000 kilometres – equal to an amazing 10 one-way trips across the country from Pacific to Atlantic. We are celebrating all of our wonderful volunteers with special attention to 12 who have reached their 5, 10 and 15 year milestones.
Come join the celebration on Thursday, June 20 from 6 to 8pm at Cedar Hill Golf Course.

Annual General Meeting

As a volunteer, you know that charitable organizations make a difference.

But do you know how big that difference is?
Join us at the AGM, where the Victoria Foundation’s Robert Janus will share the findings of a fascinating study that measured the impact of the Charitable Sector in the Capital Region

‘Civil Society Impact’
Measuring economic and social activity in the Victoria Capital Region -a partnership project between the Victoria Foundation and the UVic-

Thursday, June 20, 2019 6:00 – 8:00 pm
Cedar Hill Golf Course 1400 Derby Road


Please RSVP by: Monday, June 10, 2019
Telephone 250 595-8008
oc@sanichvolunteers.org Recognition and service awards will be extended to our wonderful Volunteers. Light Refreshments will be served

Current News

Festive Season Open House

It was three afternoons of good food and great company at our annual festive season open house.
Thanks to all our clients, volunteers and community partners for joining us. A special thank you to our carollers the Victorian Choir and the South Island Harmony. They truly added to the spirit of the festivities.
Happy Holidays to Everyone!

Volunteer Appreciation BBQ

Celebrating SVSS Volunteers! SVSS Volunteers enjoyed mingling with each other and SVSS staff at a BBQ on Friday, September 13! The food catered by Little Piggy Catering was delicious.

SVSS Volunteers provide drives, companion visits, minor home repairs, light yard work, income tax filing and much more to hundreds of residents in the Municipality of Saanich.

We cannot thank our SVSS Volunteers enough for the services they provide to brighten the lives of our clients each day.   

Saanich Volunteer Drivers

Story by Norman, SVSS Volunteer and Volunteer Advisory Council member

Larry Reed and client

For more than 25 years, SVSS has organized volunteer drivers to carry people to medical appointments, shopping trips, the bank and hairdresser, as well, as social outings around town.

“I have enjoyed doing it. I’ve met a lot of nice people.” Says Norah McQuiggan, who has a dozen years behind the wheel for SVSS. “It’s worked out really well.” She is one of 50 drivers who record a total of 63,000 kilometers a year – equal to an amazing 9 one-way trips across the country from Pacific to Atlantic. Read more of Norman’s story about the wonderful Volunteer drivers in our June edition newsletter found below under Newsletters.

Friends Stay Healthy Program

Registered dietitian Jenneke is presenting dietary workshops on healthy eating for the ladies at On The Go Again. Some of the topics for the workshops include fall prevention, brain health, happy/depression and when you are healing. At the end of each presentation Jenneke provides a healthy snack for the ladies to enjoy. We are grateful to Island Health for sponsoring these workshops.

Receptionists and Drivers Workshop

Drivers and receptionists have a long distance relationship!
They talk on the phone or communicate through email but rarely get to meet each other.

The first of two receptionists and drivers workshops brought them together. Receptionists, Ellie and Marie through role playing showed everyone what working on the front desk is like.

Drivers shared their experiences driving clients to appointments. It was a great workshop!

Next Receptionists and Drivers Workshop is Friday, March 29th at SVSS McRae House from 10am to 12 noon.

Celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year

Our OTGA group celebrated Chinese Lunar New Year. Thanks to Barbara, the OTGA ladies had a delectable feast from Sun Wah Chinese Restaurant. Barbara and Marguerite brought homemade pig designed cookies and custard tarts for dessert. Only one of the OTGA ladies was born in the year of the pig. According to the Chinese New Year website: ‘Earth Pigs are social butterflies with friends from all walks of life.’ All the OTGA ladies enjoyed the Chinese New Year celebration!

Community Mapping with UVIC Students

UVIC Professor, Dr. Jennifer Mateer and her students introduced the 'On The Go Again' ladies to urban geography.
Dr Mateer discussed the importance of community mapping to better understand shifting urban spaces and cultural landscapes. The students worked with the On The Go Again ladies to do some actual community mapping.

It was a great afternoon held by all!

Provincial Employees Charity Expo

SVSS Volunteer Recruitment Coordinator, Nancy attended the Charity Expo, a fall awareness campaign and pledge drive organized by SVSS Board Treasurer, Nathan for provincial employees. Eight charities in total attended. Nancy shared information about SVSS services and volunteering.
SVSS is grateful for the support from provincial employees through the Provincial Employees Community Service Fund (PECSF).

Provincial Employees Charity Expo

Community Partnerships Make a Difference!

SVSS, Baptist Housing, and Just For You Fashions hosted a social afternoon fashion show for our clients and volunteers at Shannon Oaks. There were delicious refreshments, stylish fashions modeled by our own Maryvonne, Linda, Imelda and Nancy, and lovely door prizes from
Just For You Fashions. It was a wonderful occasion enjoyed by all!    

SVSS Lumina Workshop: Bringing Out The Best in People

The staff and volunteer receptionists learned about themselves and how to build rapport with others to create a highly effective team.
Anna Harvey from Boost Potential delivered an excellent full day Lumina Team workshop for the staff. The workshop was held at the Beacon Community Services location in Sidney. Anna provided a Lunch and Learn session for the volunteer receptionists the following day.
Anna wrote, “Such a pleasure to work together with all of you and experience the wonderful personalities behind all the great SVSS work!”

When Great Minds Get Together!

When Great Minds Get Together

At the October SVSS board meeting our volunteer board members invited the staff to join them in an informal get together.
It was a wonderful opportunity for staff to share their many achievements as well as challenges.
The staff take away was feeling strongly supported by the board members and looking forward to the next get together.

Congratulations Leona On This Prestigious Award!

Congratulations Leona On This Prestigious Award!

Our volunteer, Leona Russell has been helping our clients in countless ways for years.  This month she received the Valued Elder Recognition Award (VERA) that is given out each year to volunteers who are recognized for giving exemplary service in helping others. 

Lois Holiski, manager of the Institute on Aging and Lifelong Health (on the left) and Lori McLeod, executive director of the Eldercare Foundation (on the right) came to the McRae House where Leona was volunteering to present Leona with the VERA award.  Saanich Volunteer Services Society (SVSS) is lucky to have such a hard working volunteer who has been unwavering in her commitment to our organization. She has brought in new clients, scheduled hundreds of rides and coordinated hundreds of income tax appointments and more. Leona has done a lot for SVSS but she says she has gotten way more from the organization than she has given.

Young and Not-So-Young Come Together at Intergenerational Cafe

Saanich Volunteer Services Society (SVSS) recognizes that many of their senior clients are isolated and lonely. They love to get out and interact with others – especially the young. When UVIC’s Project Serve Team was looking for non-profits that could engage their mostly first year students in a day of service, the idea of pairing the two groups was born. The first Intergenerational Café took place on Saturday, September 29 at McRae House on the Cedar Hill Golf Course.

Four university students and a younger SVSS volunteer welcomed 10 seniors. After lunch, students were invited to speak about their passion. Discussions about neuroscience, politics, motorcycle maintenance, biology and much more flowed. After a few hours, everyone agreed that their time had been truly well spent. Participants unanimously agreed that this event could be the hit of 2018!

Developing connections with a younger generation can help older adults feel included and fulfilled. In fact, linking older adults with youth can provide advantages for both groups. For example, such relationships can:

  • Provide an opportunity for both to learn from each other
  • Dispel myths about millennial and seniors
  • Help keep family stories and history alive
  • Fill a void for youth who do not have grandparents available to them
  • Help reduce the likelihood of depression and isolation

First Aid Training for SVSS Volunteers!

As a volunteer with Saanich Volunteer Services Society, you are eligible to take Red Cross Emergency First Aid for free. The training has a value of $95.00 so this is an incredible opportunity. You will learn a variety of topics from basic first aid to cardiovascular emergencies, CPR level C (adult, child and infant), choking and breathing emergencies, bleeding control, and prevention of disease transmission. The training will be provided by the local company, Heart safe EMS. 

To find out how to sign up, contact Nancy at volrecruit@saanichvolunteers.org

Thanks Jaime!

Our VAC member, Jaime Traynor has accepted a daytime position so will no longer be able to attend the VAC monthly Tuesday morning meetings. Jaime was one of our first VAC members and has always shown a genuine interest in the work we do and a desire to see it done well. Jaime actively participated on the website refresh working group and assisted with facilitating the grocery bus program as well as companion visiting. In Jaime's words, "Saanich Volunteers has always struck me as a very client and volunteer-centred organization, and one that has been particularly focused on adapting to the changing needs and wants of those it serves.”

We thank Jaime for all her contributions and know she will find ways to stay connected with SVSS.

Volunteers Celebrated at Appreciation Barbecue

The lawns of McRae House were the setting for the 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Barbecue.

Over 60 volunteers joined staff and guests for gourmet burgers barbecued by Chef Henri from Little Piggy Catering Services and enjoyed entertainment provided by the talented duo of Carol and Carol of the Victoria Accordion Club. Mayor Atwell addressed the group reminding us of the many contributions Saanich Volunteer's have made over the years for our clients and community.

In all, the event was a huge success with lots of laughter, good food and plenty of fellowship. It was a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge and thank our tremendous volunteers!

UVIC Summer Co-op Student Experience

SVSSAmara
SVSS

Thank you to our UVIC summer co-op student Amara for doing such a great job at everything the staff gave her to do this summer.

Amara’s primary focus was working on a marketing research project for Saanich Volunteer Services Society. She researched effective ways to raise the profile of our organization in the Saanich community so that we can increase the number of clients in need of our one on one director volunteer services and to find volunteers to provide and support the services. We wish Amara all the best with her continued studies in sociology!

OTGA Summer Activities

OTGA3

The On The Go Again (OTGA) group continue to hold their weekly gatherings during the summer months giving clients the opportunity to socialize, share refreshments and enjoy a talk or performance.

This summer they have had the pleasure of hearing about the sites of Peru and Ecuador by Sarah Vitet and Mak Konwick, touring the beautiful flower gardens at the home of volunteer Marie Jennings, listening to a musical performance by the musical duo of Cate and Brian Noakes and learning more about over the counter drugs by pharmacist Donovan Walters from Heart Pharmacy to name but a few.
Each week the group activities are facilitated by Coordinator of Volunteers Cherie Mortimore and a wonderful group of dedicated volunteers.

If interested in our OTGA group and want to learn more give Cherie a call at (250) 595 8008 ext 127