Strathmore residents are known for stepping in and volunteering when they are needed but it can also be hard for organizations to find those volunteers to help with their events and community activities. 

The Town of Strathmore has put in place a space for those organizations who need volunteers with those who want to support their community and volunteer: VolunteerConnector!

VolunteerConnector is a website where organizations looking for volunteers post what they're looking for, and volunteers looking for opportunities can easily find something that suits them. The website was launched in October 2022 and the town is looking to raise awareness about what the page can do for both potential volunteers and organizations. 

The goal in partnering with Volunteer Connect is to bring the community together. During the initial launch presentation in October Torri Odell with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA) also partnered with the Town of Strathmore to make this happen. She's focused on improving mental health in rural areas, and for Strathmore, she explained that volunteering is a great way to do so. 

"One of the things that is recognized as a massive contributor to positive mental health is having connections within your community and having healthy relationships, feeling invested in your community, feeling as though you are making a difference. Some people really just need somewhere to go and say, 'hey look, I belong here.' This is where the volunteering situation is perfect for mental well-being," Odell said.

There is no shortage of places to volunteer in Strathmore, and one organization that is looking for help is the Strathmore Overnight Shelter. The Overnight Shelter's Executive Director Elizabeth Karp explained they're struggling with a shortage of volunteers, so the ones they do have are working incredibly hard.

"We're all putting in a lot of shifts, we're really looking for anyone who wants to volunteer. Even if they want to put in one or two shifts a month it would be helpful," Karp said.

Beyond a criminal background check, all it takes to volunteer at the shelter is a one-hour orientation, and you can decide what you'd like to be involved with. For example, some volunteers are needed in the kitchen, while others may be involved with filing. Karp couldn't overstate the importance of volunteers for the shelter, and would greatly appreciate any help.

"We can't run without them. There's no shelter without the volunteers. We operate on a very, very, shoe-string budget so we don't have the funding even to be open 24/7 either. We can not operate without volunteers from the shelter, it takes a big commitment," Karp said.

Volunteering has many benefits for both the volunteer and the community, for those in need or volunteers or looking to volunteer a great place to start is at VolunteerConnector for the opportunities in the community.

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