Kelly Taverner, Thanks for Doing Some Good!
What first inspired you to volunteer?
When I was enrolled in my management degree at UBCO - University of British Columbia Okanagan Campus, I was very involved with on-campus extra curricular activities. In my second year, I got involved with the '5 Days for the Homeless' campaign. This experience opened my eyes to the homelessness problem in my community.
Which cause are you most passionate about and why?
I am most passionate about my work with the homeless and exploited women and girls in my community. I believe that a community is only as strong as its weakest member and that it is our duty to come together and support our most vulnerable community members.
Which organization do you most commonly volunteer for?
I do most of my volunteer work with H.O.P.E. Okanagan.
What does a typical volunteer shift look like for this organization?
A street outreach shift is approximately 1.5 - 2 hours in length. Teams of 2 or 3 women gather at the meeting spot at dusk with their supply bags of water, jackets, gloves, socks, dental, feminine, and general hygiene supplies, chocolate, and many other goodies and walk the H.O.P.E. route downtown. We interact with anywhere from 5-20 girls a night, giving them supplies, directing them to other community resources, driving them to shelters, educating them about harm reduction, taking any reports, and of course supporting them on a personal and emotional level. We have built connections with these girls and do our best to love, support, and empower them.
What impact have you seen volunteers make in the community?
Volunteers are the core of a community. The community would not function without the love and generosity of people working together to help one another.
What is the most memorable moment or experience you've had while volunteering?
Building connections with women and young girls on the street and being a part of their recovery.
What support does your organization currently need, and how can people learn more or get involved?
H.O.P.E. Okanagan is trying to re-open our safe house for women. There is a massive shortage of housing in our community, particularly for women. To donate and learn more, visit: https://www.gofundme.com/houseofhope2017
Is there anyone else you would like to recognize that has helped support you to make a difference?
I want to give a huge thank-you to oranj fitness for always supporting my work with H.O.P.E. They have helped collect jackets and clothes, funds, and donated smoothies for us to give out in the summer! I am so blessed to have an employer that supports me the way oranj does.