Volunteer Opportunities at Cowichan Neighbourhood House
Did you know? The CNHA runs almost entirely on volunteers.
Last year, volunteers logged 9000 hours!
Volunteer Opportunities List (pdf): Volunteer_Opportunities
The Cowichan Neighbourhood House Association (CNHA) is an association of “neighbours helping neighbours”, and we currently have no regular paid staff. The majority of what we do is done by adult and youth volunteers, including practicum students. Every volunteer is invited to do what they like doing, or do best. Some of us volunteer fixing up the building; some are good with youth; some are good at organizing events or administrative tasks; some teach classes; and some help out at the garage sales and free store. We plan to expand the training workshops for volunteers who work with youth or who deal with people in need, and are seeking funding.
All training and activities are free and located at the 9806 Willow Street, unless indicated otherwise. Volunteer Cowichan also has training opportunities for volunteers, where you get to meet other volunteers from the Cowichan Valley.
Current Volunteer Opportunities (2015)
We often post volunteer opportunity updates on our Facebook page or on UsedCowichan.com. Below are some of the more regular activities that need volunteers. Volunteering for most positions requires a Criminal Record Check, which we can arrange to waive the fee. We also provide opportunities for volunteer training when funding is available, including free First Aid, Food Safe, and other certifications that normally cost $85+. Please contact us at (250) 246-3203 or email at cnhaoffic (at) gmail.com.
Youth Drop In
For daily After School programs with youth ages 12-18. The drop in provides both a safe, fun place to socialize and a resource for helping youth. We help with homework, computer searches, resume, or just help them with advice and problem solving, in a fun social environment. Criminal Record Check required (see above). Volunteers will first be paired up with a more experienced volunteer, and be given various volunteer training opportunities.
Tutors & Literacy (Youth & Adults)
We help youth with homework, finding jobs, and computer literacy. We also have a tutor come in on Wednesdays for tutoring youth and Thursdays for tutoring adults. We also help adults monthly with informal ESL instruction (in partnership with Cowichan Intercultural Society) including help filling government forms, taxes, and general orientation to Canadian life. Criminal Record Check required (see above).
Fri & Sat, 7pm to 10pm
A safe, fun place for youth (12 to 18) to socialize, learn, or just hang out. Kitchen activities, 3 pool tables, ping pong, fussball, air hockey, floor hockey, internet. We can arrange to have a free criminal record check. Volunteers will first be paired up with a more experienced volunteer, and be given various volunteer training opportunities.
Youth Cooking & Baking Instructor
We’re looking for experienced volunteers to teach baking and cooking techniques. Past volunteers have also taught restaurant skills, table setting, with experience working in a commercial kitchen. Must have BC Food Safe certification, but we can provide this for free. We have two programs, Youth Cook’in and Youth Bak’in, which alternate Thursday evenings.
Office & Admin Assistants
We are looking for someone to help with simple office tasks, such as answering the phone and assisting our Program Coordinator and Steering Committee with the day to day running of the office. This is good opportunity for training, while helping enormously with the running of the organization.
Good Food Box delivery
Once a month, we pick up several boxes of food ordered through the Good Food Box program, for distribution at the Old Chemainus Fire Hall. Drivers will be reimbursed for the cost of fuel to and from Duncan, where the boxes are picked up. (Currently, this is every third Monday of the month in the early afternoon).
Furniture pick up & delivery
We have a list of families who need beds, couches, and other large items that are too large for us to store for any period of time. When a donation comes in, we arrange for volunteers to pick up the items and deliver them to the Chemainus Fire Hall or preferably directly to the home of those who need the items. We reimburse for fuel costs, and arrange to have volunteers assist the drivers with pick up and deliveries.
Adult Cooking Instructors
We try to hold at least three types of classes a year, depending on funding and availability of donated food — Canning Classes, Healthy Soup, and Eating Well on a Limited Budget. The Canning and Eat Well classes require some skill and knowledge in technique, drug-food interactions, shopping economy, and diabetes-friendly recipes. For the Fall 2013 schedule, we are still looking for volunteers to run the Eat Well program, and to help out with the Canning and Healthy Soup classes.
The Healthy Soup follows & shared basic recipes, but largely each week will depend on what is donated by local businesses. Besides creating wonderful soups, there is a lot of laughter & friendship. To keep the freezer & Soup Pot full, it is best is to have a minimum of 3 hours commitment every Tuesday, with the rare longer day, provided donations are plentiful and volunteers have the time to stay.
We will have a separate page outlining our Adopt-a-Family for Christmas program. Every year, neighbours and local community organizations help by filling each family member’s Christmas gift wish as best they can — by donating food or gifts, or donating money so that the CNHA volunteers can buy gifts. We also need volunteers to help box, sort, and deliver the packages to families. Last year, we helped over 100 families (many over 5 people per family) with a box full of gift items, various food items, and either a ham or turkey for a Christmas Dinner. Finally, we also use volunteers to contact potential sponsors, without whom we wouldn’t be able to help as many community members.
Committees & Board of Directors
We are always looking for volunteers with special talents, and we have a place for almost everyone’s talents. The various volunteer run sub-committees are part of the larger Steering Committee. The Steering Committee handles programming, coordination, scheduling, and volunteer training.
Our Youth Committee has both youth and adults on it, and help our youth plan activities, fund raise, and achieve goals such as field trips. They also act as an advisory committee for the organization as a whole, so that the youth perspective is included.
Our Maintenance Committee helps fix things and install things. This is a very active committee, since our old building is often in need of repairs. Volunteer opportunities range by skills, so don’t hesitate to contact us if you are interested.
Our Computer Committee helps keep the computers running by removing viruses, fixing hardware, installing programs and helping volunteers with various IT issues, including helping the office volunteers.
Our Fundraising Committee holds markets, garage sales, BBQs, music concerts, silent auctions, cake walks, car washes, etc., and writes grant applications and letters of appeal to local organizations and donors.
Our Board of Directors is elected every Fall at the AGM. There is a President, Vice President 1, Vice President 2, Treasurer, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary, and room for three Members at Large. One of the Members at Large seats is reserved for a Youth Representative (18 or under). We also strongly recommend that at least one of our Board members be from a First Nations community.
Women’s Circle Leader
We are seeking a leader to run a weekly group to socialize, share a meal, and promote health and wellness among women. If you are interested, or know someone who may be, please contact us. The tentative schedule is every Tuesday 11am-2pm. If we have enough volunteers, we can supply childcare during the group time.
Practicum Students Opportunities
In addition to local volunteers from around the Cowichan Valley, we also welcome practicum students from Vancouver Island University or University of Victoria, studying in a related field (Social Work, Child & Youth, Criminology & Justice, Education, etc). We can offer free workshops and training for students (including First Aid certification, BC Food Save certification) and valuable experience in all aspects of running a non-profit. During the Fall, students get to meet and work with international students, as we regularly have volunteers from the Capernwray Centre and sometimes from Canada World Youth.
Students work with more senior volunteers, and with the daily supervision of the Steering Committee Chair. Evaluations are performed by the President and Steering Committee Chair.
To volunteer, contact us by e-mail or phone at the contact info below. We have a volunteer form that you can fill out, and our Program Coordinator will get in contact with you with training opportunities and with information on what events or committees you can volunteer in. Even a few hours a month can make a big difference.
Please note that volunteers who work with youth must provide a current Criminal Record Check (CRC), and this process can take a few weeks. We can arrange to waive the fee for the CRC. We are also part of the “Volunteer Cowichan” network, and have access to many resources through the network.
Cowichan Neighbourhood House Association
9806 Willow Street, Box 457
Chemainus, BC, V0R 1K0
E-mail: cnhaoffice (at) gmail.com
Located in North Cowichan, on Vancouver Island. We are a non-profit volunteer run organization
providing community, youth, and family activities, resources & services for
Chemainus, Crofton, Duncan, Ladysmith, Saltair, Penelakut,
and other areas in the Cowichan Valley.