KCR: Volunteering is my therapy

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Volunteering has been an important part of Carol Polasek’s life for the past 25 years.

Three years ago, after her husband passed away, volunteering became especially meaningful for her.

“I was my husband‘s caregiver for nearly 15 years and when he passed away in 2018 I found that volunteering helped me through the grieving process,” explained Carol.

“So I would say volunteering is my therapy. And I also feel it is a good example for my children and grandchildren.”

Carol volunteered for Saint Vincent de Paul for over 10 years and became very connected to the families that she served there. “They often became good friends. We spent a lot of time together. We cried together and laughed together.”

Carol has volunteered at Cottonwoods Extended Care but was not able to do that through the pandemic.

But she has continued to help at the Gospel Mission and at the Doyle Avenue Shelter downtown.

“I love the people there and look forward to being there,” said Carol. “I have tried to encourage people that are on their own to spend time volunteering. You get more than you give.”

If you are interested in volunteering, be sure to come to the Okanagan Volunteer Fair at Parkinson Recreation Centre on Saturday, Sept.18, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The 24th annual edition of the fair features over 55 booths hosted by local non-profit organizations.

Both staff and volunteers will be there to share all of the opportunities their organizations offer. It’s your chance to learn about how and where you can make an impact in your community and also an opportunity to pick up your copy of the Get Involved magazine, a publication about volunteerism in the Central Okanagan published by Black Press.

The Okanagan Volunteer Fair is free to attend and there will be strict guidelines and safety protocols in place.

To help ensure everyone’s safety, booth spaces will be socially distanced and set-up as a one-way, flow-through space that incorporates both the indoor and outdoor spaces at Parkinson Recreation Centre.

To help ensure everyone’s safety, attendees will be asked to wear masks and to provide contact tracing information. Fair attendees will also need to confirm they’ve had at least their first vaccination shot.

For more information on the Okanagan Volunteer Fair and volunteer opportunities in the Central Okanagan, contact KCR Community Resources at 250-763-8008, ext.141; email; or online at

The VolunteerConnector helps volunteers find their passion and impact areas. To sign up, contact Emily at KCR Community Resources ( or

Dorothee Birker is the communications and development coordinator for KCR Community Resources.