Sudbury

Breaking the barriers so people with disabilities can find meaningful volunteer work

Volunteer Sudbury has launched a new three year program to help people with disabilities become volunteers.

New program called Valuable Volunteer is funded for three years by the Trillium Foundation

Alanna LaHay is the Program Manager for Volunteer Sudbury (Markus Schwabe)

Volunteer Sudbury is launching a new three year program to help people with disabilities become volunteers. 

The aim is to identify the barriers that may be stopping some people from getting involved, according to Alanna LaHay, the program manager of Volunteer Sudbury.

She says they've secured money from the Trillium Foundation to fund a three year program. LaHay says often people just don't know where to go because of their disability, mental illness or just barriers in their life.

"And by speaking with them and getting to know them on a personal level I'm able to understand those barriers and find them an opportunity that is meaningful to that individual," she said.

The program involves three steps. First they come in and take Volunteering 101 where they teach everything from what certifications you might need to the benefits and time management.

Then they they sit down on one one and find out their needs and then match them with their interest and skills and finally they find a match and start volunteering.

Finding success

"There are opportunities out there that they can give their time and any barriers that they are facing, they can overcome them," says LaHay.

She says Volunteer Sudbury continues to support them even after they find them a match to make sure it is working.

And she's already seen success. They currently have a high school student with cerebral palsy working in a community garden. He does everything from planting seeds to making sure the gardens are watered.

"Even just gain experiences that relate to employment, and to just enrich their life," she said.

LaHay says when you help others, you help yourself.

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