Saanich Volunteer Services Society

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.


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


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!

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

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


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


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