How long have you volunteered with CMHA Kelowna?
I first started volunteering with CMHA in 2016. Since then, I have helped out with several special events including the Guardian Charity Ride, Kelowna Rockets hockey games, Raymond James Christmas in November, Mental Health Voices Breakfast, and Oktoberfeast. At each of these events, I have had the pleasure of representing CMHA and helping fundraise for the amazing programs they offer in our community. I am currently looking forward to volunteering at Foundry Kelowna, where I will be supporting staff that provide critical services to youth struggling with mental health issues.
What motivated you to volunteer at CMHA?
In my fourth year of university, I was employed as a residence advisor at UBC Okanagan. As part of my training for this position, I learned about mental health issues and how to support people that are affected by them. This was my first introduction to mental health and it gave me an appreciation not only for how prevalent mental health issues are, but how much of an impact they can have on an individual’s life. As a result, I pursued additional training and obtained my mental health first aid certificate. I have since been volunteering with CMHA and have witnessed first-hand the effects of mental health issues on loved-ones.
What makes this volunteer experience a meaningful use of your time?
I have seen a world of good come from having open conversations about mental health and a willingness to seek support. For these reasons, I think CMHA represents an incredibly meaningful cause, not only for offering programs that support individuals struggling with mental health issues, but also for helping to break down the stigma and starting conversations about mental health to encourage a willingness to seek support.
What is the biggest personal benefit you receive as a volunteer at CMHA?
The biggest personal benefit I receive as a volunteer at CMHA is the knowledge that I’ve helped raise funds that will support programing directed at helping individuals struggling with mental health issues. Beyond that, I hope that through these programs and events I am able to help break down stigma surrounding mental health issues and start conversations that will encourage people to seek help.
What is the most memorable accomplishment of your volunteer experience with CMHA?
I think the most memorable accomplishments I have volunteering with CMHA are at events like the Guardian Charity Ride or Mental Health Voices Breakfast, where I’ve been able to contribute to the success of the event and hear first-hand accounts of individuals that have been struggling with mental health issues or will be supported by funds raised at the event. These moments have been incredibly meaningful for me because hearing personal accounts of mental health issues really reinforces the impact we are having in hosting these events, and the urgency with which help is needed.