Volunteering

Get Involved

The John Howard Society of Victoria (JHSVic) offers many opportunities for volunteers to get involved. JHSVic is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the lives of people in the criminal justice system.

Some of the ways we accomplish this is by providing support and programming to people and their families, advocating for sensible criminal justice policies, and working to create a more just society.

We rely on volunteers to help with many of these initiatives. We also offer mentorship opportunities for disadvantaged youth and people reintegrating into society. JHSVic is always looking for passionate and committed volunteers who want to make a difference in our community.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact us, we would be happy to chat with you about how you can get involved!

William Head Visitor’s Group

A Sense of Belonging, inside

The William Head Visitor’s Group is a weekly initiative where volunteers spend time with inmates at William Head. They share stories and participate in recreational activities and various social events. The Visitors Group Program helps to emphasize feelings of positive self-worth and alleviate feelings of isolation.

Requirements

  • Spend a few hours every Wednesday participating in group activities and conversations.
  • Are 19 years or older.
  • Have passed a Criminal Record Check and Screening.
  • Are non-judgmental, honest, kind, professional and responsible.
  • Exercise personal boundaries.
  • Create a safe space for individuals to be heard.

Community Adult Mentoring & Support

Contributing to a Safe Reintegration.

Our Community Adult Mentoring & Support Program pairs volunteers with incarcerated individuals to provide one-to-one mentorship and support as they reintegrate back into new spaces and communities. We have seen how human connection can empower a person to thrive in a time of uncertainty.

Requirements

Screened and affirmed volunteers will attend an orientation, participate in appropriate training, and are asked to commit to one year of mentorship.

To qualify for mentorship, we ask that you:

  • Have passed a Criminal Record Check and Screening.
  • Are 19 years of older.
  • Exercise personal boundaries.
  • Are non-judgmental, honest, kind, professional and reliable.
  • Have a willingness to work with high-needs participants.

KidStart

Mentoring for Children and Youth.

KidStart is a one-on-one mentorship program for children and youth facing significant challenges. We serve kids aged 6-18 in the Greater Victoria area. All the children on our waitlist are referred by professionals. These include school counsellors, social workers, and police. At its core KidStart is a preventative program, aimed at improving the lives of children by connecting them with a positive and consistent role model.

Our mentors are trained in First Aid, reflective listening, strength-based practices, and receive ongoing training, support, and supervision to help them be the best mentor they can be.

Mentors spend 2-3 hours a week with their mentees, doing fun activities in the community such as swimming, skating, indoor rock climbing, board games, beach walks and more.

Requirements

To qualify for mentorship, we ask that you:

  • Have passed a Criminal Record Check and Screening.
  • Are 19 years of age or older.
  • Have lived in Canada for at least one year. 
  • Have a stable routine and are eager to be a long-term positive role model for a young person.
  • Can commit to spending a few hours each week with a young person for one year.

Active Mentors Volunteering

Active Matches of Youths to Mentors

Community Garden

Feeding Ourselves and Others.

Providing therapeutic food growing opportunities for people who have challenges. These may include mental illness, addiction, and involvement with the criminal justice system.

Program participants gain experience working in an organic garden, develop stable and positive interactions with others, and improve the quality of their lives by producing their own organic food.

We are currently looking for volunteers to work on our organic garden project.  While no gardening experience is necessary you must be comfortable working with people who are dealing with addictions and mental health issues.

We are looking for volunteers for our Tuesday and/or Thursday sessions (10:00 am – 2:00 pm).  We are located on the grounds of Seven Oaks (4575 Blenkinsop Rd).  You will need your own transportation as there is no public transportation near the site.

The garden operates from April to October.  We are looking for people who can come out to at least one session per week for the duration of the garden season.  We grow vegetables, flowers and some fruit which are used by the participants and donated to the community. 

We are entering our thirteenth garden season, and while we have some long time volunteers who will continue to work on the project, we are always looking for new people to help out in the garden.

If you are interested in the position please apply on the link – Volunteer Gardeners at John Howard Society of Victoria (easyapply.co)

We encourage new/potential volunteers to come out and “test drive” the garden.  One of our current volunteers will give you a brief overview of the garden and then work with you during the session – a kind of hands-on orientation so that you can determine whether this is the place for you.  We can complete the application form and criminal record check forms later.  Come out any Tuesday or Thursday to check us out.  Look for the fenced garden on the grounds of Seven Oaks (see address above).  Bring your hat, garden gloves if you have them, and lunch as we take a break around 12:00.  If you need any other information, please feel free to email serenityfarm@jhsvic.ca

Requirements

  • Have passed a Criminal Record Check and Screening.
  • Are 19 years of older.
  • Exercise personal boundaries.
  • Are non-judgmental, honest, kind, professional and reliable.

Impact Stories

David* came to us after being out of work for a year and after the death of his son. In the past, he spent time in and out of jail, struggling with addiction. He was looking to make a change and improve his life and the life of his family. Our BladeRunners Program provided the change he needed. During the program, he was quick to make friends and inspire others with his story of overcoming grief and addiction. He had an infectious positivity about him, and his job coaches helped him to secure, not one, but five job offers by the end of the program!

David accepted an offer with a masonry company after completing the program. He started full-time work earning $25 an hour. Three months later, he worked his way up to be a crew manager, making $30 an hour. He paid off his debts and provided for his family in new ways. He continues to be in contact with the BladeRunners staff and his positive outlook continues to influence those around him in the workplace and community.

*Name has been altered to safeguard client confidentiality

By giving to the JHS, you help us improve lives. One person at a time.

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