Volunteers in your backyard

By Becky Mann

Volunteers are the foundation of many communities. They are individuals who jump into the fray — solo or as a group — to join a larger cause.

Ready to utilize their skills, whether it be cooking, greeting, driving or performing, here in the Tournament Capital of Canada, April is a time to celebrate those giving volunteers.

Jim Fornelli, 71, has been volunteering for most of his life.

“For me, it’s an extension of my faith — serving other people,” said Fornelli, when asked why he volunteers.

When his children were younger, Fornelli became involved with OLPH catholic church community and he coached soccer — 20 years worth.

He also attended clown college and visits many community events and places as Sancho the Clown.

“I do a lot of volunteer work wth my clowning,” said Fornelli.

Fornelli has to keep up-to-date with his balloon art, as the requests are more and more complicated. Dogs and umbrellas are common requests, as well as airplanes.

He is also involved with the Heart & Stroke Foundation, the Out of the Cold program, and was a volunteer Snow Angel for Oncore Seniors Society this past winter.

“So many in our community have gifts and they share those gifts,” said Fornelli.

Joel Rodrigues, 15, has been volunteering at the Kamloops downtown YMCA since November, 2015.

“I am an assistant swim instructor,” said Rodrigues.

Two days a week (with a few weeks off), Rodrigues helps the swim instructors and the kids with their lessons.

He believes volunteering is good for the future and enjoys what he does.

Lindsay Stobbe, 30, has learned what volunteering can accomplish while spending time at the Kamloops Food Bank, through her work, and sitting on the board of directors at the Kamloops Rugby Club (KRC).

“I would never have known where to go, or how to do it…” said Stobbe, recognizing that not everyone knows how or where to start volunteering.

With her work, Stobbe was able to learn all about the new Kamloops Food Bank and the volunteering involved in the building of the structure itself.

With the Kamloops Rugby Club, Stobbe has volunteered her time at events around the city, and in the past has been a volunteer coach for high school rugby teams in town — coaching high school teams is something many of KRC players are involved in.

© Kamloops This Week