I am writing about the current situation many individuals who make up our community are facing. These people experience challenges that require them to move differently through the world, which can make finding gainful employment a difficult task.
As a result, these individuals choose to contribute to society in various other ways, often committing to numerous hours of volunteer work at different organizations. These volunteer hours provide work experience, an opportunity to earn respect and demonstrate responsibility, as well as a sense of contribution to the collective community. The volunteer workforce allows many organizations in our community to continue the good work they do with greater ease.
At one point, the provincial government recognized the importance of the volunteer community. It created a program called the community volunteer supplement program which provided $100 a month to individuals with disabilities who volunteered a minimum 10 hours a month. This $100 was to be used towards transportation, clothing, or any other expenses incurred in the volunteer position.
It was a small supplement to the minimal income assistance provided by the government for individuals with disabilities, an average of $906.42 a month. The money also supported the skills individuals learned through volunteering, helping to build resumes and boosting employability.
The program was cut in 2011 without explanation. The BC government said they were working on other programs to take its place and were focused on creating work possibilities for people with disabilities. These new programs have yet to come in to fruition, leaving those deserving answers with countless questions.
Let’s take action. Let’s spread awareness of the loss of this program and bolster support for individuals in our community living with disabilities. I believe everyone’s contribution to society deserves respect and appreciation. If you feel the same, here is how you can reach out:
• Visit our Facebook Page: facebook.com/CVSProgram
• Sign our petition to pressure the government to reinstate this program: ipetitions.com/petition/reinstatment-of-the-community-volunteer-supplement
• Share the information and increase awareness
Glynis Waring, Nelson