Volunteers are the heart of our organization and provide a variety of invaluable services to our clients. Some roles require training, while others make use of your skills to support programs. We will work with you to find the role that best suits your interests and abilities.
Many people come to volunteer with us due to a personal loss that they have experienced in their own life. If this is true for you we recommend that you wait for a period of 1-2 years before considering working directly with clients. Our roles that do not require training may be more appropriate for you at this time in your own grief journey. COHA Staff can discuss this more with you.
Volunteer Roles that Require Training:
Volunteers come from different backgrounds, interests and experiences. Individuals who wish to volunteer directly with clients are required to complete our 40-hour Volunteer Training which is offered twice a year. Due to the sensitive work we do, all volunteers must attend an information session before being screened and selected for the training.
Direct Service Bedside and Community Volunteers provide emotional and social support to hospice clients and their loved ones in the Community, at Hospice House and at Kelowna General Hospital (KGH). Understanding that clients are living until death Direct Service Volunteers respect each client’s unique journey and support individuals without fixing or solving. Through thoughtful presence, volunteers sit in silence, play cards, read the paper, share jokes and stories, or just grab a cup of tea. The supportive social supports that volunteers provide range from assisting with meals to profound conversations. Volunteers offer the kinds of support a friend might offer: Someone to talk with who understands. Someone who will listen without judging. Someone with whom to share memories, feelings, difficult times. Someone for companionship and friendship. Someone who will share quiet time. Someone to do things with such as going for walks or lunch. Someone who could relieve the family caregivers for short periods. We often tell our new volunteers that if you love to collect stories and gain joy from small moments this work will be highly rewarding. Shifts vary depending on area of focus, although COHA does ask for an average weekly commitment of four hours.
Vigil Volunteers are available at all times of day or night to sit at the bedside as a caring presence in the final moments of a person’s life. Volunteers may sit in silent reflection, play soft music and a gentle touch of comfort to those at end of life. These volunteers are available at short notice throughout the Central Okanagan to sit with individuals whose family may not be able to stay with them or for those without family. Many volunteers choose to volunteer in Vigil because they benefitted from a similar service with a loved one they may have lived far away from, or when they needed a good night’s rest. Shifts are most often overnight for four hours.
Bereavement Volunteers support bereaved individuals in the community and facilitate the various bereavement group programs available through COHA. Bereavement volunteers are most often not professionals but rather support bereaved individuals by providing a kind listening ear and normalizing the bereavement process. In grief many people feel isolated, overwhelmed and in need of extra support to make sense of their bereavement journey. Volunteers are there to listen and support, not to fix or try to take away another’s pain. Our grief group facilitators similarly help support the groups to share their stories in order to normalize the grieving process for the individuals who attend.
Peaceful Space Volunteers, trained in a healing modality (such as Reiki, Healing Touch or Therapeutic Touch), use touch to provide comfort and relaxation to clients and their families at Hospice House and within the Community. COHA offers Reiki training at different times of the year for those not yet trained who would like to incorporate Reiki into their volunteer practice. For those already trained, the COHA Volunteer training is still required to support hospice clients, however contact us for more information about our Bereavement Reiki program.
HeArt Cart Volunteers provide painting, drawing and artwork support for clients and their families at the Hospice House. For many clients, art has provided them with self-expression throughout their lives and they are grateful for volunteer support in continuing this creativity while in Hospice House. For others, it is a way to experiment with art while sharing time with a volunteer. HeArt Cart volunteers also work with children and families to create a lasting memory of their time at Hospice House.
Volunteer Roles that Do Not Require Training:
These roles do not require the 40-hour Volunteer Training, but rather you will be supported and mentored by experienced volunteers in order to learn your new volunteer role. Many people choose to volunteer in these areas because they wish to give back, but do not feel they are the best people to provide direct client support, or that their skills would be better served in other areas.
Help Desk Volunteers provide reception support at Hospice House. They are the first kind smile for many people as they come to Hospice House for the first time. They answer and direct calls, provide support to visitors, maintain the library, and assist with office tasks and library maintenance. Help Desk Volunteers ensure that each person coming into or phoning Hospice House is treated in a respectful and warm manner. Shifts are typically four hours weekly during the days, although some evening shifts and floaters (those who can fill in at different times) are needed.
Garden Volunteers nurture the garden at Hospice House, creating a beautiful and peaceful outdoor space for clients, loved ones, volunteers and staff at Hospice House. It is a large garden space and the team of gardeners work together to maintain this thriving garden. As part of the Garden team volunteers come on Wednesday mornings from March until October. You do not need to be a skilled gardener to join this team but you can’t be afraid of getting your hands dirty.
Administration Support Volunteers are occasionally needed to perform administration support both at the Hospice House and at our Cooper Road, Orchard Plaza Program support office. Duties and workload vary, and we do not always need this form of support. If you have strong administration skills, please do get in touch to see how you might be able to help.
Board Members volunteer their time and talent to provide leadership and guidance to COHA. More information about expectations and requirements of becoming a Board Member can be found on the Become a Board Member page.
If you are interested in any of these roles, learn more about becoming a volunteer.