By Breanne Massey

Pioneer Staff

The Columbia Valley Alliance of Volunteer Organizations (CVAVO) will be hosting the first ever Pay to Play event to help secure a network of hardworking and reliable individuals for non-profits and charities in the area.

The event takes place at Pynelogs Cultural Centre and Art Gallery between 6 and 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 14th. The aim of the evening is to connect valley volunteers with summer and fall volunteer opportunities.

April 10th to 16th is National Volunteer Week, said Laurie Klassen, Columbia Valley Community Foundation executive director. Its a time to celebrate and thank Canadas millions of volunteers, and a trio of individuals working in the Columbia Valley in the non-profit and charitable sector saw National Volunteer Week as a special opportunity for us to recognize and celebrate the hardworking volunteers in our community.

Ms. Klassen is working with Megan Peloso of the Lake Windermere Ambassadors, Jami Scheffer of Columbia Valley Arts as well as Judy Dow at the Invermere and District Curling Club to organize the Pay to Play event.

To celebrate National Volunteer Week in the valley, were going to be having a volunteer appreciation event, explained Ms. Klassen, noting the event will be open to valley organizations that regularly use the help of volunteers. The event organizers are encouraging groups to recognize outstanding volunteers at the Pay and Play event while centralizing the volunteer network in the Columbia Valley.

A fee of $40 will be charged to these organizations to help cover the cost of live music by the Small Town Revival band, food and small tokens of appreciation that will be distributed to participating volunteers.

Volunteerism is so crucial in the valley and without volunteers, a lot of events wouldnt happen, said Ms. Klassen. We thought this (National Volunteer Week) would be an awesome opportunity to thank all of these hardworking volunteers for everything that they do.

Dave McGrath will be the emcee for the Pay to Play event.

In addition, Ms. Klassen will be unveiling a new website and the Columbia Valley Alliance of Volunteer Organizations digital strategy to unite the valleys volunteer network.

One idea that were working on and that weve been talking about is having an organization that could represent all of the volunteer organizations in our valley because people are always looking for volunteers and people are always looking for a central place to find all of that information, so we are going to use this event to kick off the introduction to a website that may or may not be done, said Ms. Klassen. Were going to tell participants at the event about the idea to create this website and have this organization that could potentially be an umbrella organization for all voluntary organizations in our valley.

If your organization is interesting in promoting volunteering opportunities through this event and the Columbia Valley Alliance of Volunteer Organizations new platform to centralize a network of volunteer online, please contact Ms. Klassen at 250-342-2845 or email info@valleyfoundation.ca.