Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Collaborating at Christmas

Caring for Kids at Chrismtas, PQB News SOS Video

PQB News creates SOS Caring for Kids Video

Learn about the SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas Program and how Tigh-Na-Mara and the community help make magic for our local children by clicking this link.


Friday, 14 November 2014

Fall 2014 Newsletter

SOS Fall Newsletter

Read about SOS programs coming to Qualicum Beach and more

Please note the Tigh-Na-Mara Toy Drive is taking place Nov. 26.

Project Connect Health Fair

Community organizations in the region area are coming together again to offer our most vulnerable residents access to emergency services, items of necessity, and life saving resources under one roof.

The 6th Annual Project Connect Health Fair will take place Thursday, Oct. 10 from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the Parksville Community Centre.

The event, organized by the Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness, was designed to connect residents in need to service providers, businesses and volunteers who are dedicated to eradicating homelessness and the stigmas surrounding it. Service providers such as Island Crisis Care Society, Forward House Community Society, Canadian Mental Health Association, The Career Centre, Mental Health & Substance Use, Ministry of Social Development, and SOS, along with approximately 30 other businesses and community groups, will be on hand to give a hand up to our most vulnerable citizens.

The event will offer free haircuts, hearing exams, foot care, public health testing, information on programs, healthy food, hygiene items, portraits and many other valuable services, all donated from service providers and the community.  A veterinarian will also be on hand for those who have pets providing pet food, flea care, vaccinations and food.  The Parksville Community Centre has also sponsored the event, making it possible for it to be free for attendees.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Candy Ashridge wins Volunteer of the Year

SOS Board Member

SOS board member Candy Ashbridge has been recognized for her outstanding commitment to the community. She won Volunteer of the Year Award at the 2015 Qualicum Beach Community Awards, hosted by the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 18.

Each year, the Chamber honours individuals and businesses for their contributions to the community. This follows a nomination period, during which residents and visitors are encouraged to put forward names of those they consider to be deserving of recognition.

Ashbridge is a retired librarian and, along with her active role at SOS, she has dedicated her time to Qualicum Cat Rescue, Building Learning Together (BLT), Vancouver Island Compassion Dogs and more. She was the first “story lady” to delight children at Milner Gardens Christmas Magic, and she has volunteered for the local school district on many occasions, reading books to children in her wonderfully animated style.

The award was presented to Ashbridge by SOS president, Cory McIntosh. SOS Executive Director Renate Sutherland said she was thrilled to see Candy recognized with the award.

“We are very honoured that she chooses to lend her time and expertise to SOS,” she said. “She has touched so many lives with her dedication to this community; this award is very well deserved.” 


Kids Cuts for Charity

SOS Caring for Kids at Christmas benefits from Hair Cuts project

Tigh-Na-Mara hair stylist Aneilla Veselisin is back at it offering to donate all the proceeds of Kids Hair Cuts to the Caring for Kids at Christmas Campaign. Book a hair cut and style for a child for $25 by Nov. 15 and all the proceeds will go to the SOS program. To book the appointment call 250-248-1838.

Thursday, 09 October 2014

The Oceanside Light Tour

SOS to benefit from Christmas Light Tour

The Kathok Centre in Coombs is once again hosting its Oceanside Light Tour in Parksville, Qualicum, Coombs and Nanoose Bay. People can donate $20 to have a home listed on the Tour and others can enjoy your light offering. People vote for their favorite display and if your home or business wins you get a luxury Christmas Eve light tour with up to 11 friends and family in a beautiful stretch limo from  Vancouver Island Limousine services.

100% of the donations go towards a local non-profits:
Kathok Centre, SOS, Oceanside Hospice Society and The Salvation Army. For more information visit The Light Tour Website by clicking here.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The SOS' Better at Home Program needs more male volunteers

Friendly visitors could assist a senior on the computer or sit for a chat

Seniors are an important part of the Oceanside community and in order to live independently and comfortably in their own homes some could use assistance from the community.

Right now the program is seeking more male volunteers to visit with their clients, perhaps take them for a much-needed walk, help them on the computer or just sit and talk. The program is also seeking female volunteers.

To volunteer for the program call 250-248-2093 ex. 230 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Oceanside Better at Home, a program supported by United Way and funded by the Government of British Columbia, is about community members helping each other with simple day-to-day tasks, and is administered by SOS for District 69. Oceanside Better at Home volunteers offer:

  • Friendly visiting
  • Transportation to non-medical appointments
  • Grocery shopping

In addition, Oceanside Better at Home provides services on a sliding fee schedule such as:

  • Light housekeeping
  • Yard work
  • Light home repair
  • Snow shoveling
  • Housekeeping

Oceanside Better at Home helps seniors to age with dignity, and prevents social isolation. For more information on the program go to www.betterathome.ca or call 250-248-2093, ext. 248.

Oceanside Task Force on Homelessness Fundraiser

Benefiting people in our area

This joint project with the Island Crisis Care Society is aiming to raise money to benefit local people in accessing and maintaining housing. Funds donated will be matched until these funds, provided by the Bienfaisance Foundation, run out. These funds are running out fast however, as a host of other social service fundraising campaigns throughout B.C. claim the same dollars. Donate as little as $5.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

A Unique Kind of Coffee Club

Volunteering at SOS Thrift Shop offers fun and friendship

A Unique Kind of Coffee Club

While many of their counterparts are catching up at local cafes, the Wednesday afternoon volunteers at the SOS Thrift Shop are putting a new spin on the weekly coffee club. The group combines the social benefits of meeting for coffee, with giving back to the community, creating win-win-win. While bonding over clothing racks and cash registers may not seem as fun as lingering over a donut and a double-double, this happy group of volunteers beg to differ.

SOS Thrift Shop volunteers can work the cash, tag clothes or sort donations in the back. A 3.5 hour shift is the norm, especially for the cashiers, but volunteers are not restricted to that. This group works the same Wednesday shift because the schedule suits them (and because they have become friends). but Don and some others are also known for taking a “power hour,” where they drop in on other days as well, when it’s convenient for them, just to help out where necessary.

“You feel like you have accomplished something even if it’s only for an hour,” he says. “The other thing is that everyone is equal here,” adds Don. “The full-time staff treats us like gold.”

Adds volunteer Frances Cej, “You feel really valued here.”

Amid a spontaneous chorus of positive comments from other volunteers, one sums it up best, “It’s common sense and respect. Everyone has fun, and a sense of humour. I have seen nothing but smiles here.”

Just what one would expect from their weekly coffee club.

Better at Home Friendly Visitors

A Friendly Face Can Make a World of Difference

Better at Home Friendly Visitors

When SOS started offering friendly visiting through the Oceanside Better at Home program, volunteer Elaine Eddy jumped at the chance to volunteer. Eight months and countless cribbage games later, Eddy and the man she visits for an hour each week have become good friends. As a bonus, Eddy has found a new friend in the man’s daughter as well.

“I had heard about the Better at Home program and thought that I would like to help out in some way, especially because I know how valuable it is just to have a regular visitor.”

When her mother was still alive, Elaine Eddy’s visits with her became filled with “doing things for her,” she says. “I’d either be taking her to the doctor or helping her in some other way. We’re all so busy, and my husband was sick and dying of cancer at the time, so there was no time to just visit and enjoy each other’s company.”

Then a friend of Eddy’s offered to visit her mother on a regular basis. “It meant the world to me and to my mother,” she says. “My mother had different things to talk about; she had someone who was interested in her stories who hadn’t heard them before, and it was so nice to know that someone was there for her when I couldn’t be.”

In fact, it is often the adult children of seniors who first contact Jane Williams, Oceanside Better at Home coordinator, to arrange a friendly visit for their parent. Williams explains that it can initially be a difficult step for seniors to take.

“Some people might feel as though there’s something wrong with them if they feel lonely, or don’t have anyone who will come just to visit them,” says Williams. “But it’s not about not having friends, it’s about how busy the world has become. A friendly visitor is there strictly to visit and spend quality time with you.”

Some seniors are also concerned about inviting a stranger into their home. Eddy’s friend’s daughter stayed with her father the first few visits, until everyone was comfortable. All Better at Home volunteers are also carefully screened and must provide a police information check before being approved as volunteers. Williams also ensures that friendly visitors are going to be a good match for specific Better at Home clients.

“I think all of us wish we could just stop once in while and take the time for a good visit with someone, just to share a story, have a laugh or play a game,” adds Williams. “that’s what this program is all about.”

There is no charge for this service. If you or someone you love could benefit from a friendly visit through Oceanside Better at Home, call Jane at 250-248-2093, ext. 248.

Monday, 05 May 2014 Tuesday, 18 February 2020

Youth Week at SOS

SOS Celebrates Youth All Year

Youth Week at SOS

This week (May 1- 7)) is National Youth Week, a week dedicated to the celebration of youth and their active participation in their community. SOS offers various services for youth through the Child,Youth and Family Centre programming, by responding to each individual participant’s needs, and helping them access resources in the community, whether that involves mental health, employment preparedness, sexuality or life skills.


“It’s no secret that today’s youth are facing more challenges than ever,” says Paulette Harcourt, manager of SOS Child, Youth and Family Centre. “The pressures placed on youth by their peers, parents and by society are enormous.”

“Anxiety is the number one concern among youth right now, about family situations, school, friendships, safety, you name it,” says Harcourt. “Finding positive ways to cope with that anxiety is a life skill that any of us could benefit from.”

SOS offers programming to help young people navigate the stress and pressure, and to help them connect with the positive aspects of being a young person in the Oceanside Community.

Nikki Westra-Luney, youth coordinator for SOS says that building an atmosphere of safety is critical to the success of SOS Youth Programs, so that “youth can feel free to be themselves when they are here,” she says.

“We have an awesome group of teens who have formed some really strong friendships here at SOS. Whether we’re talking about serious issues that are happening in their lives, or out at a movie or activity in the community, it’s a really cool group to be involved with.”

To help celebrate Youth Week, SOS assisted with an event at Ballenas Secondary School on May 1st . The event included a DJ battle; BBQ; inflatable Hamster Balls; and a street hockey game of teens versus off-duty local RCMP. The weather was awesome; the teens who came out were amazing; the DJs kept the party going, and a great time was had by all!


Monday, 14 April 2014

Parksville-Qualicum Haven House on Shaw

Stories of Courage and Hope












 Thank you to SHAW for spotlighting Parksville-Qualicum Haven House.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Volunteer Week Was Extra Special at SOS This Year

If you have ever visited the SOS Thrift Shop, you have been helped by a volunteer. If you, or your neighbour has received a meal from Meals on Wheels, that meal was delivered by an SOS volunteer. If you know children and youth who are participants in SOS programs, those programs are strengthened with the help of SOS volunteers. If you have had your income tax filed through SOS, that tax return has been completed by an SOS volunteer. If you dropped off a gift to the SOS Christmas program, a volunteer helped that gift find a home.

“Most people who live in the Oceanside community have been touched by the kindness and generosity of volunteers,” says Andy Telfer, coordinator of volunteer resources at SOS. “Next week during National Volunteer Week, SOS joins all Canadians in thanking volunteers for making our communities stronger, and more connected.”

SOS is grateful for a roster of over 350 volunteers, who help deliver 30 programs at SOS, ranging from medical drives and services for seniors, to after school programs for teens, parent groups for new moms – and everything in between.

“We simply would not be able to offer the range of programming that we do to the community if it were not for our volunteers. One week in the year to recognize them seems like such a brief moment in time, when in our hearts we are thanking them every moment that they are delivering SOS services to the community,” adds Telfer.

SOS volunteers were honoured at a special SOS volunteers luncheon on April 8, the highlight of which was recognizing two volunteers, Verna Jenkins and Edith Chamberlayne, who have been with SOS since the very beginning, 45 years ago. Both women continue to contribute their time and energy to the community today, and personify the qualities that are recognized during National Volunteer Week, which runs April 6-12.

“SOS recently received the Prime Minister’s Volunteer Award for Social Innovator,” says Renate Sutherland, executive director of Society of Organized Services. “Imagine the power behind every act of kindness delivered by our volunteers over many years, so that one non-profit organization in small-town Canada, earned national recognition by our Prime Minister.

“Of course we are very honoured by the award, but we are thousands of times more honoured that our volunteers care enough about others in the community, and choose to give their time and energy to SOS. To be able to share this recognition with our volunteers next week, and recognize volunteers who have been with us since day one, makes this National Volunteer Week extra special,” added Sutherland.

SOS Receives Prime Minister's Volunteer Award

Way to go SOS Volunteers!

SOS Receives Prime Minister's Volunteer Award

On February 27, Society of Organized Services was one of the recipients honoured by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, during the second Prime Minister's Volunteer Awards (PMVA) at a special ceremony in Toronto. Accepting the award on behalf of SOS was Cory McIntosh, SOS president, and Renate Sutherland, SOS executive director.

The Prime Minister’s Volunteer Awards recognize two national recipients, one for lifelong achievement and one for an emerging leader, as well as 15 individuals, businesses and not-for-profit organizations in five regions across Canada. The awards also highlight best practices in community leadership and encourage partnerships across sectors. SOS is a regional (British Columbia and North) award recipient in the category of Social Innovator.

The recipients, who were selected through a rigorous assessment process, were presented with medals, certificates and lapel pins. As part of their recognition package, each recipient will identify a not-for-profit organization to receive a one-time funding grant in their honour. Not-for-profit organizations identified by the 15 regional award recipients will each receive $5,000, and those identified by the two national award recipients will each receive $10,000.

“It was a humbling experience to hear of the great work other volunteers are doing around the country. However, it was truly a proud moment for me to accept the award on behalf of all SOS volunteers.  I am looking forward to sharing it with everyone when we return, especially (SOS founding member) Edith Chamberlayne,” said McIntosh. 

“SOS has always been tremendously grateful to our volunteers, who have formed the foundation of SOS right from the very beginning,” says Renate Sutherland, executive director at Society of Organized Services. “It may seem like a simple thing for our volunteers, to perform those every day tasks on behalf of SOS, whether it’s caring for toddlers, delivering meals to shut ins, working the till in the thrift shop, or donating their time in any of our programs. But it really contributes to changing our world.”

For more information about the awards and recipients visit www.pm.gc.ca/awards.

Fairy Godmother Donates Princess Dresses to Grad Wear

Grads - get your Grad Dress for just $5.00!

Fairy Godmother Donates Princess Dresses to Grad Wear

First, there was an armful of teal dresses, some sleek and satiny; some with mega bling and a mountain of tulle. Next came a half-dozen mauve and purple numbers - again in a range of styles, and sizes (0-18 in that armload alone). As the treasure trove of 60 brand new, stunning grad dresses started to pour into the Society of Organized Services Child, Youth and Family Centre, staff of SOS, and Grad Wear coordinator Nikki Westra-Luney were quite literally awestruck.

“The dresses are absolutely amazing,” said Nikki. “It’s a huge boost to the Grad Wear Program, not just because we now have a very large inventory of brand new grad dresses that teens can get for just five dollars, but also because someone cares enough about youth to support our program in this very meaningful way.”

That “someone” is the owner of Maidas, a bridal store in Courtenay, who preferred to remain anonymous, but did say that she was delighted to donate the dresses to SOS, most of which still have the price tags attached, ranging from $100 to over $500.

The SOS Grad Wear program welcomes grade 12 grads who can not afford the expense of a grad outfit, to choose the dress of their dreams, or a suit or tux, plus shoes and accessories, for just five dollars. Dresses are new or gently used, tuxes and suits are gently used, and everything is theirs to keep. SOS will also outfit dates of grads, which can make for a fun shopping experience at the Child, Youth and Family Centre.

Interested grads can book an appointment with Nikki by calling 250-248-2093, ext. 232, and can check out just some of the dresses on Facebook at SOS Grad Wear 2014.

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