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Volunteer Sudbury program removes barriers for would-be volunteers with disabilities

Valuable Volunteer Program supported by $300K Ontario Trillium Foundation grant

There's a large population of people in Greater Sudbury who are interested in volunteering, but run into barriers related to issues such as disability or mental health.

During her time with Volunteer Sudbury, Kiara Vallier, the organization's outgoing program manager, worked closely with some of these individuals.

She helped them to fill out applications and accompanied them to interviews to make sure they found the right placement.

That's the idea behind Volunteer Sudbury's Valuable Volunteer Program — it removes barriers for would-be volunteers. 

The program is being supported by a $300,000 grant spread out over three years from the Ontario Trillium Foundation.

“We're very thankful we have it,” Vallier said, speaking at an April 20 press conference celebrating the grant. “There's no way we could offer the level of support we plan to be offering without the grant money.”

Alanna Lahay, Volunteer Sudbury's incoming program manager, said the organization will be doing Volunteer 101 sessions with those accessing the Valuable Volunteer Program.

“We'll be meeting with them one-on-one so that way we can know what their interests are, what their skills are, and what they'd really like to achieve in the program, and we'll match them with an organization that will help them to reach the goals they want to achieve,” she said.

Sudbury MPP Glenn Thibeault, who was on hand for the press conference, said volunteers are integral to society.

“They are very, very import ensuring that organizations run, that community organizations exist, and if it really wasn't for volunteers, we as a society would be in big trouble,” he said.

“That's why I'm really proud to say that through the Ontario Trillium Foundation, the government of Ontario is investing $300,000 in Volunteer Sudbury. So congratulations on that.”