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Extra appreciation for volunteers

May 12, 2014

AHS celebrates volunteers during National Volunteer Week

Story by Lisa Peters

Stella Weber is an active community volunteer and member of the Westlock Health Care Auxiliary Society, and in April Alberta Health Services (AHS) celebrated her and the work of hundreds of other volunteers during National Volunteer Week.

“Volunteering in health care is not only a benefit for the patients, but for the volunteer too,” says Weber. “It helps to get a person out of the house, helping others, and doing good. There’s always a need for it.”

Weber has been generously donating her time for over 45 years through local community groups and organizations, and started volunteering at the Westlock Continuing Care Centre the early 1990’s to help support a family member.

“During this time, I really saw the value that volunteers provided at the hospital, and it made me want to help out too,” says Weber. “I hope to get extra help when I’m at that age.”

National Volunteer Week was April 6 - 12th, and AHS volunteers were celebrated across the province. In Westlock, a Volunteer Working Session was hosted on Saturday, April 12. Brunch was provided, volunteers were recognized, and a special guest speaker spoke to the importance of proper hand washing.

“It was a nice opportunity for everyone to get together and to learn something new, too,” says Irene Moulton, Volunteer Resources Coordinator at the Westlock Continuing Care Centre.

In Westlock, there are about 150 registered, active AHS volunteers and 125 of them attended the event held on April 12.

“We have a diverse group of volunteers and each one of them has something unique to offer,” says Moulton.

At AHS, many different volunteer opportunities are offered through various programs, including helping with crafts, entertainment, spiritual care, palliative care, outings, and accompanying residents to doctor appointments. Westlock also offers work experience to students and intergenerational programs.

“That’s what I like about it - there is something for everyone, and you can pick and choose your hours,” says Weber.

Weber’s volunteer experience ranges from helping out at bake sales, working at the hospital gift shop, reading to patients, watering plants, taking patients to different appointments and services, and handing out gifts on special occasions such as Christmas, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and more.

“Knowing that you made a positive impact on someone is an emotionally uplifting experience that can never be matched by money,” says Moulton. “Volunteering strengthens a person’s ability to work with others, to take direction, and to lead others.”

In the month of March alone, volunteers in Westlock donated over a thousand hours of their time.

“We are truly thankful for each and every minute of time that is donated,” says Moulton.

To find out more about AHS Volunteer Resources, visit www.albertahealthservices.ca/volunteers.asp.

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