Neighbour to neighbour: Help Oak Bay Volunteers build community, one service at a time

If you’d like to make a difference in your community, the Oak Bay Volunteer Services Society has the opportunity you’re looking for – many opportunities, in fact!

As a “community of helping hands,” the society has been making powerful differences in people’s lives for 46 years.

“There are many, many ways you can give back,”says Renee Lormé-Gulbrandsen, the Executive Director of OBVS.

Unsure where you might fit in? “Our volunteer coordinator can pinpoint how you can be of service,” Lormé-Gulbrandsen says.

While many at OBVS are passionate about helping those in the community who might be older adults, others are in various ages and stages of life but are young at heart, or younger in age who simply need a little extra support in life. Volunteers are not caregivers, but provide services that support those with some level of independence in their living situation, Lormé-Gulbrandsen explains.

Their varied services can range from a caring phone call or visit to someone experiencing social isolation, to delivery of meals or medications or drives to medical appointments. A shared walk might boost a client’s mental or physical health, while a little house or garden work can help someone remain independent in their home.

“You can be that special person to provide companionship by helping someone manage a difficult time in their lives, go on a much-needed walk, chat over tea to avoid a sense of isolation, or help a senior get to a much needed doctor’s appointment or an errand done,” Lormé-Gulbrandsen says.

Who can volunteer?

From new retirees to parents whose kids are back in school to university students, all adult volunteers are encouraged to share their special skills.

“We truly welcome and value all walks of life, ethnicities and abilities of volunteers just as much as we do for our clients. We have a lot of opportunities to meet your availability and interests and we’re flexible with your schedule,” Lormé-Gulbrandsen says.

In valuing their volunteers as well as their clients, there are opportunities to connect with other volunteers at learning events, and various recognition events throughout the year.

A consultation will take place with all prospective volunteers, as well as a criminal record check, to protect the vulnerability of the clients.

With Oak Bay Volunteer Services Society, opportunities to connect with your community and your neighbours are right outside your door. The services to the clients are free and are a heart-based outcropping of a person’s desire to do one small, yet vital act: Show kindness to others.

Find Oak Bay Volunteer Services Society at 1442 Monterey Ave. and online at

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