Why I Volunteer – Ken
When I was very young I began volunteering with a youth oriented group, the Canadian Cadet Organizations. I wanted to go to sea. That started in 1981, in Northern BC. I needed the self-discipline that that organization provided; I stayed with that group for 22 years until adulthood amid a turbulent dysfunctional life. My main employment outside of volunteering was with the British Columbia Forest Service, in Forest Protection and Inventory. The last job for them before my health started to change was in the beginning of the Mountain Pine Beetle explosion in the mid to late 1980’s. After a year resting as my health got better, I returned to the Bug project in 1990 with a contractor and injured myself. I could not continue in that line of work. I still volunteered with Cadets.
In 2000, I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis and had to drop Cadets a couple of years later. I retired from a job as a computer technician at London Drugs in 2002. I took care of some mental health issues and faced life alone with a disability in the city of Prince George. It was difficult at first, MS’ed up. I survived thanks learning all we really need is to have food, shelter and companionship secured. Life is a triangle of support. To that end I needed to keep busy for survival once I secured a home and food. In late 2003, I began volunteering for the Handy Circle Resources Society through an umbrella society concerned with developing accessible housing in Prince George. They began to pay me a small wage in 2012. My most high profile role for them today is networking, facilitating the StopGap Ramp Program for Prince George, being their volunteer Emcee at events and preparing Presentations. In 2005 I became Volunteer Facilitator for the MS Community in Prince George. Before 2010 I would be blogging for them on my own. I became the voice of MS in Prince George in the absence of a live group around 2011 and I facilitated a phantom group. While aging in this city, I began volunteering with the PG Council of Seniors first in late 2003 as a volunteer instructor teaching senoirs about early technology and the internet as it was back then. I became a board member for a few years beginning about 2010. Late 2006 introduced me to the Patient Voices Network, by 2007 I was an Activated Patient. In 2018 I joined the BC SUPPORT unit on the Patient Council in Vancouver BC. The SUPPORT Unit and it’s regional centres including many of the provincial and national health partners they have, evolved from ideas first started in the BC Patent Voices Network since 2009 when they incorporated as a registered Non-profit in British Columbia supported by Impact BC a defunct supporter as of I think 2012. They are now supported by the BC Patient Safety and Quality Council, another of the Patient Voices Network ideas coming to life that came to be around 2014.
Also in 2007 I started volunteering for the City of Prince George with the Advisory Committee on Accessibility and became community liaison for “Measuring up the North”, an initiative for Northern BC to become accessible. It’s now known as “Access 2024”. In 2016 and 2017 I returned to the Advisory Committee. Through these volunteer positions, I began officially connecting to and volunteering with / for other local, provincial and national groups and have joined many other groups concerned with housing, accessibility, advocacy, regional health and successful aging. In 2008 we re-formed the Prince George Power Mobility Society which is concerned with safe enjoyment of Power Mobility devices. It’s struggling at present but we have high hopes. In 2016 I became the Volunteer Web Designer for Volunteer Prince George. I also design the Carefree Society’s website, through them I will return to Make a Change Canada’s IBDE program to make improvements on the design I created for Carefree in 2016 and perhaps jump start a business project I have. Thank you for recognizing me in all the hats I wear. Onward to futures best left to the imagination and hopefully realized! I suppose the best reason for why I volunteer is to keep my sanity. Disability was hard on my brain, and keeping it busy keeps me healthy, as far as society is concerned anyway.
Since first posting of this writing of me, I have taken further education thanks to combined efforts of the Carefree Transportation Society (who have a WordPress Blog now behind their blog, desperately in need of a blog writer). Thanks to Stakeholders and Supporters behind Make A Change Canada I completed the IBDE Training (taking upgrading now for a month, learning about BootStrap Framework software) in 2017. I also began a journey to develop a business plan towards a use for my 5 year website at walknroll.info and beyond. Stay tuned and subscribe there to see all my posts and who I become! I also maintain Volunteer Prince George’s website with plugin updates and security fixes. I’ve dealt with the server behind this website once or twice too. Thanks Telus Hosting Oh and you asked at first Why I Volunteer (so much)? Simply, it keeps my sanity in an insane MS’ed up world.