As part of a new partnership with the local children’s hospice, Langara will offer four team members two staff and two volunteers, a chance to take the school’s computer classes for free.
The courses are meant to help with the “professional development” of the many staff and volunteers who take care of more than 450 children at Canuck Place.
“These programs will give the volunteers an opportunity to focus on what they do best and that’s helping out Canuck Place; not having to worry about training or finances,” said Raymond Chow, the program co-ordinator for the computer technology courses at Langara College.
Chow reached out to Canuck Place back in 2011, due to his self-admitted love of volunteerism. In the past, Chow has worked with Canuck Place and other groups such as United Way and St. John Ambulance. However, due to his professional commitments at the college, Chow was unable to volunteer as much as he wished.
“I suddenly realized that although I did not have the time to volunteer anymore, I did have the resources to help strengthen the computer skills of staff and volunteers of non-profit organizations,” said Chow.
The only financial responsibility for the workers from Canuck Place is to purchase textbooks and course materials, although Chow himself has donated several textbooks.
In terms of the future of the project, Chow is hoping to expand the idea of fee-waived courses into other departments.
“We hope this partnership lasts forever,” says Leanne Freeman, a manager at Canuck Place in charge of volunteer and support services. “The partnership is something we definitely want to build off of and expand,” Freeman added.
The Canuck Place Children’s Hospice is British Columbia’s only children’s hospice and provides both health care and therapy for children and their families. Some of Canuck Place’s programs include art and music, as well as grief therapy.
Reported by James McLaughlin and Niall Shannon