Church volunteers Val Hellewell, Micki Brault, Janice Brulotte and Marlene Mayoh. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Fernie assisted living facility thanks volunteers

Rocky Mountain Village hosts volunteer appreciation lunch to mark National Volunteer Week

From pet therapy to music performances, volunteers find a number of ways to brighten residents’ day at Rocky Mountain Village.

On Friday, April 12, the Fernie assisted living facility returned the favour, treating 65 of its selfless volunteers to lunch.

The volunteer appreciation event is held annually during National Volunteer Week, which runs from April 7-13.

“It’s just a time for us to get together and appreciate our volunteers who come here, and say thank you to them,” said Rocky Mountain Village Recreation Therapist Shelley Moulton.

About 70 people currently volunteer at Rocky Mountain Village and perform a wide range of roles.

“Some are groups that come in and entertain for us, some come in just as helpers and will go and visit with the seniors, play games with them, just share some time with them,” said Moulton.

“We have our church groups that come in and help out in that way. We have pet therapy, volunteers who come in with their dogs and provide therapy through pets.”

Local youth also dedicate time to seniors.

A preschool group visits monthly through the Fernie Heritage Library, while every year from September to December, Grade 10 students from the The Fernie Academy play games with residents.

“Some of them enjoyed it so much that they continued on after that,” said Moulton. “We have a good group of volunteers. Our staff are the ones that carry the day-to-day runnings of the building… but it’s really the volunteers that make the difference in sharing in our residents’ day.”

Volunteers also get a kick out of giving back to residents.

Every week, the Station Strings perform at a retirement home or seniors centre, drawing on their extensive repertoire to provide entertainment for residents and members.

“You can’t just play music for yourself because it’s so important to have an audience,” said Nici Blackwell.

“The audience is part of the experience and it’s so nice to come to the seniors centres, and they enjoy it and we have a party.

“This is one of our favourites places to come and sing because we know everybody, we’ve come to know the residents and we’re friends. This is very special for them to do this for us.”

If you’re interested in volunteering at Rocky Mountain Village, contact Shelley Moulton at rmvrec@glm.ca.

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The Station Strings are among local groups that volunteer at Rocky Mountain Village. Pictured are Mike Bruschetta, Rosetta Rino, Nici Blackwell, Margaret Blumhagen, Mary Marasco and Jean Yves Ouellette. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

Patti and Randy Cameron of Patti’s Party Tent Rentals (centre) with pet therapists T.L. Kokot and Marie-Claude Lemire at the volunteer appreciation lunch on April 12. Kimberley Vlasic/The Free Press

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