Fort Frances Volunteer Bureau looking to expand its reach

By Jocelyn Galloway
Special to the Times

As the Volunteer Bureau evaluates the future, it hopes new volunteers will help further its commitment to creating opportunities to give back to the community.

Applications are now being accepted for new members to join the Volunteer Bureau team.

“In the last year or so, we’ve taken the opportunity to rebuild and refocus. This is a new adventure which is really exciting,” said Laura Bruyere, Volunteer Bureau volunteer and board member. “We’re starting to lay down the framework. Our next step is to start recruiting more volunteers.”

To apply, new volunteers must pick up a form at the Volunteer Bureau located at the old train station on 4th Street and pay a $2 member fee. Bruyere said she encourages people to go in and meet other volunteers but forms can be requested online as well.

The basic form helps the bureau find out which activities would be best suited for each individual. Everything from availability to interests will be kept on file to help the bureau assign volunteer opportunities.

Bruyere has been on the board with the Volunteer Bureau for one year. One thing she said she loves about volunteering with the bureau is the flexibility.

“That’s the great thing about the Volunteer Bureau right now is that we don’t need a huge commitment,” said Bruyere. “Whether you just want to do one day a week, one day a month or whatever you’re willing to commit to, we can find something that works for you.”

Currently, the Volunteer Bureau has 10 active volunteers.

Opportunities are open to volunteers of all ages, whether it’s a high school student looking to fill their required hours, someone new to town who is looking to connect with the community or a retiree who has extra time on their hands.

Right now, the only programming through the Bureau is the through their space renters, the Family Centre and Bear Clan Patrol. However, Bruyere said, with more volunteers, it will be exploring the future possibility of providing shovelling and lawn maintenance services for seniors. The bureau also holds different seasonal events, for example a Christmas dinner.

As of April 1, the Volunteer Bureau’s board has elected a new leaders. Bill Michl will now be acting as president with Gaby Hanzuk as vice president.

“I always found Fort Frances, in general, has a wonderful way of bringing people together to give back in times of need,” said Bruyere.