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Friendly Visiting program looking for new volunteers

West Parry Sound District Community Support Services’ Friendly Visiting is looking for volunteers. 

The program matches seniors in the Parry Sound District with volunteers for regular at-home visits or planned outings. Carol Marshall, the program’s Wellness Coordinator, says Friendly Visiting has some wonderful volunteers already, but they can always use more.

“It’s something where someone could give the gift of time, with the holiday season coming up a lot of people want to be able to give a gift or a different thing, and the gift of time is something that can travel all year,” Marshall says.

She says the Friendly Visiting program is not overwhelming, adding that volunteers who might be interested would be looking at a visit or a phone call once a week. “Maybe one week have a visit, the next week a phone call, depending on what the volunteer and client decide together. It’s their interaction, it’s their relationships so they might want a little more, or a little less. But definitely have a connection weekly, so definitely we need some volunteers,” Marshall adds.

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“We found through COVID that you can feed somebody, bring them food and that kind of thing but what they miss is that social interaction. It’s part of us, we are created to be together and to have interactions with each other and fellowship in time, so we are looking for volunteers to fill that role,” she says. 

Marshall says the program welcomes anyone who may be interested in sharing their time with a client in the community. Anyone interested can call the Community Support Services office at 705-746-5602 to set up a face-to-face meeting.

“There is an application program, of course, with all of that screening because it is a relationship with people in their homes, so we do want that done. That is something that volunteers need to be aware of, it’s not overwhelming, it’s not too much, but it’s certainly something that protects the volunteer and protects the client,” Marshall says.

She says once the process is done, the volunteer would go to the office, where they are matched, and then Marshall would bring them to the client and introduce them and then see how that goes. She says following that there’s a review process to see if it’s a good match or if it’s not, in which case the volunteer could be matched with someone else. 

According to the program’s webpage, friendly visiting “maintains your connection to the community, facilitates your access to social services, provides educational and social opportunities,” for West Parry Sound District seniors, and “offers the opportunity to cultivate lasting friendships, to learn from a senior’s life experiences and to benefit from the personal satisfaction derived from being a volunteer,” for volunteers.

Marshall says she personally thinks Friendly Visiting is an amazing program, “I think it’s something that not everybody is aware of in our community,” she says.

***With files from Kathy Jennings

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