Can you help? We need volunteers.

On days when the Penticton & Area Women's Centre is open, clients needing help with disability benefits often stretch down the hallway.

To remedy the situation, the centre is seeking volunteers willing to give three hours a week of time to support those in need.

"Our goal is to create a program that trains volunteers to assist our clients with disability related issues from how to deal with provincial disability designation to how to get a bus pass, food and housing," said Leann Pitman, the disability advocate at the centre. "Because for people who have disabilities, meaning they have restrictions or limitations, the process is so difficult."

Currently according to Pitman, there is a substantial waiting list to serve clients, something the Volunteer Disability Advocacy Support Worker Project is designed to eliminate.

The project also known as GetReal, is  a one-year project, training volunteers to help people access needed resources.

Funding is through the Government of B.C. (Employment and Labour Market Division), and Community Foundation of the South Okanagan.

Ideal  volunteers would be people who are compassionate, able to ask insightful questions and fluent in English with excellent reading and writing skills. They will be asked to commit to a minimum of three hours a week at sites in Penticton, Summerland, Oliver or Osoyoos.

"It takes a special person," said Donna Henningson, who is coordinating the program with Donna Ashcroft.

Training is Jan. 25 at the PAWC office at #209, 304 Martin Street in Penticton. It  features Stephen Portman, legal advocate with the Victoria organization, Together Against Poverty Society, TAPS.

Portman oversees a successful Volunteer Disability Advocacy Project.

Those interested need to sign up in advance. For more information about “getting real” with PAWC, contact 1-866-493-6822, or e-mail [email protected]

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