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Volunteer information

Volunteering provides unique and fulfilling work experiences that may help you decide if Therapeutic Recreation is the field for you. You will gain a good sense of the industry with all the exciting challenges and rewards that go with it. You also get to see and experience the role recreation plays in meeting the needs of older people or people with disabilities.

Admission to a Therapeutic Recreation program requires participants to have 45 hours of volunteer or paid experience, which must meet the following requirements:

  • In order to make the experience meaningful in that way, we ask that your hours involve working with older adults (seniors) in any setting OR with people of any age group as long as they have a disability.
  • We also require that the hours spent with those people involve direct or indirect provision of recreation services. This means that you can either be involved in leading recreational programs or experiences OR you can be involved as an assistant of the leader of a recreation program or experience.
  • Your 45 hours be supervised by an individual who will be prepared to evaluate your experience on a form that will be provided. Ideally, your supervisor would have training in Therapeutic Recreation, or in Recreation in general, however, as long as the supervisor is employed in the recreational department or unit or is the Administrator and has had the opportunity to observe you, that will suffice.
  • Finally, the 45 hours must have been completed within the year prior to the April 1 deadline for admission. Volunteer experience completed prior to one year may be submitted towards preferential admission.

So, for example, if you have experience spending time one-to-one with an Autistic child and the time you spend involves making meals, transportation and going to the mall or park, we would recommend that you pursue 45 hours in another way or setting. Although your experience here will help you overall, it will not give you the sense for the field of therapeutic recreation that we believe you would benefit from. 

If, on the other hand, you have assisted in the recreation or activities department of an intermediate care facility or a mental health clubhouse, that will work just fine. Any setting, which offers recreation services to older adults or to people with disabilities, should work.

Volunteer site information

You could find an appropriate volunteer experience at:

  • hospitals
  • long term care facilities for older adults
  • youth assessment centres
  • rehabilitation settings
  • group homes
  • mental health settings
  • adult day centres
  • rehabilitation centres
  • correctional facilities
  • municipal recreation centres
  • agencies working with people with developmental disabilities

You can also check out The Red Book, which is a directory of health and social services in the lower mainland, including addresses and phone numbers. Another good website is GoVolunteer. Click on "Browse by Activity" and go to the Sports and Recreation listings.

Before volunteering with an organization, check their volunteer requirements. Many agencies ask volunteers to commit to 6 months and/or 75 hours of volunteering. Some agencies will not fill out the volunteer reference form until you complete the required time. Ask the volunteer coordinator if he/she will fill out the form by the April 1st deadline even if you haven't completed their required commitment.

When you apply for a volunteer position, please tell the Volunteer Coordinator that you are volunteering in order to meet the entrance requirements for the Douglas College Therapeutic Recreation Program. The coordinator will ensure that the volunteer work you are assigned to meets the requirement.

Volunteer opportunities

Listed below - in alphabetical order by community - are some of the agencies currently providing volunteer opportunities suitable for entry into the Therapeutic Recreation program. 

Burnaby

George Derby Centre, 7550 Cumberland Street

Long-term care facility providing care to 300 veterans of the Armed Forces. Three open units and two special care units for residents with dementia. The Therapeutic Recreation department includes recreation, artworks, music therapy, pastoral care and volunteer services.       

Contact:
Director, Therapeutic Programs
604 527 4450 

St. Michael's Centre, 7451 Sussex Ave. 

Residential care for seniors. Also offers compassionate and holistic hospice care for people who have a terminal illness. The Therapies Department delivers over 50 programs to assist residents to maintain or improve their state of health and live life to its fullest.        

Contact:
Director of Volunteer Services
604 434 1323, local 134

Strive Living Society - Liberty Place, 7899 17th Avenue

There are 20 tenants in an apartment building style Assisted Living facility for adults with physical disabilities, such as Spinal Cord Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, Muscular Dystrophy, Spina Bifida, and Cerebral Palsy. All tenants are in power chairs or manual wheel chairs and range in age from 20 to 70. The Recreation department offers various recreation programs ranging from board games to outings to and one-on-one assistance.

Contact:

Recreation Coordinator

604 526 9933 (Ext. 3)

 

Delta / Surrey / Langley  

Brookside Lodge, 19550 Fraser Highway, Surrey  

Brookside Lodge is a long-term care home located on the Surrey/Langley border. We have 116 residents in eight neighbourhoods, with a specialized acquired brain injury neighbourhood and a behavioral support transition neighbourhood. Our Recreation Therapy team provides a variety of programs and outings to enhance resident’s health and well-being.

Contact:
Volunteer Coordinator 
604-530-6595 (ext. 103)  

Evergreen Hamlets, 15660 84 Ave, Surrey  

Residential care for adults with brain injuries, Huntington's chorea, multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy. The Activities Department provides various programming ranging from sports, board games, mental aerobics, information sessions to outings/excursions.       

Contact:
Recreation Coordinator
604 597 7906  

Guildford Seniors Village, 14568 104 Ave, Surrey   

Guildford Seniors Village is home to 89 residents with varying care needs. We have three separate units including one Special Care Unit. We offer a variety of large group, small group and one-on-one programs.      

Contact:
Manager of Therapeutic Recreation and Volunteers 
604 580 4284

Langley Gardens - Empress Assisted Living, 3rd Floor - 8948 202 St, Langley   

An assisted living building providing housing for 35 very active residents. On a daily basis, we offer numerous programs to enhance our residents' social, emotional, physical, vocational, spiritual and intellectual well being.       

Contact:
Lifestyle and Programs Manager
604 881 8132, local 132

Power For All - Adventure Therapy Society

Power For All is a charity that operates in the Fraser Valley. The purpose of our organization is to relieve conditions associated with disability by providing specially adapted recreational programs to support the physical, mental, and emotional well being of children, youth, and adults living with disability.

Contact:

Director

778 885 7953

 

Semiahmoo House Society, 15306 24 Ave, Surrey 

The Recreation and Leisure department offers a range of cool and interesting evening programs for youth and young adults with developmental disabilities.  Band practice, Theatre, Sports, A Glee-Club, Boys and Girls night out and a Friday movie drop-in are just some of the exciting programs.  We are looking for enthusiastic, caring and committed peer mentors who want to make a difference in the lives of other people.         

Contact:
Volunteer Coordinator

604-536-1242, local 255

The Residence at Morgan Heights, 15955 27 Ave, Surrey  

A long term care facility for older adults featuring 8 residential neighbourhoods within a 116 bed complex care community.   The Therapeutic Recreation department offers numerous programs designed to meet the needs and interests of our residents.  We provide opportunities to enhance the residents' social, emotional, physical, spiritual and intellectual well-being.      

Contact:
Recreation Coordinator
604 576 2273 ext 121

Fraser Valley  

Abbotsford Regional Hospital - Extended Care, 33457 Cottage Lane, Abbotsford  

We are a 125 bed extended care facility with a team approach to quality of life. Combined music, rehabilitation and recreation therapy programming. Recreation programming is available six days a week.      

Contact:  
Volunteer Services
604 851 3010 

Maplewood Care Society, 2510 Gladwin Rd, Abbotsford

We are a long term care provider, with two homes in Abbotsford, caring for over 110 residents collectively. Both homes aim to provide holistic wellness through a variety of innovative programs that serve the desires of our residents.

Contact:  
Recreation and Volunteer Manager 
604-425-3093 or brobinson@maplewood.bc.ca


Maple Ridge / Pitt Meadows 

North Fraser Therapeutic Riding Association , 13345 Park Lane, Maple Ridge

NFTRA is a non-profit organization enriching the lives of children and adults who experience physical, mental, emotional or social challenges by providing safe and professional therapeutic equine programming. We conduct 4 annual riding sessions of approximately 8-13 weeks each in the summer, fall, winter and spring. On average we serve over 100 clients per week with the assistance of 80-100 volunteers.

Contact:
Volunteer Coordinator
604-462-7786

Ridge Meadows Hospital - Baillie House, 11666 Laity St, Maple Ridge 

Residential care for seniors. We provide therapeutic recreation services to 175 seniors with various disabilities.       

Contact: Volunteer Coordinator
604 466 7911

 

North Vancouver / West Vancouver

Kiwanis Care Centre, 2444 Burr Place, North Vancouver  

Complex care facility with 192 residents, primarily, but not limited to seniors. There are limited mental health opportunities available.      

Contact: Recreation Therapist 
604 924 8357 

Port Moody / Coquitlam / Port Coquitlam 

Coquitlam Metro Ford Soccer Club - Adaptive Soccer Program

The adaptive soccer program is an opportunity for individuals who may not have the ability to play in mainstream soccer to develop their physical literacy, well-being and love for soccer.

Contact:

Head Coach

adaptivesoccer@cmfsc.ca

Hawthorne Care Centre, 2111 Hawthorne Ave., Port Coquitlam  

Hawthorne provides a wide range of services to seniors, from low income housing to long term residential care for those seniors with complex care needs. All the recreation therapists are Douglas College graduates.      

Contact:
Manager of Volunteer Services and Community Partnerships
604 468 5037

Port Moody Soccer Club - Adaptive Soccer Program

The Adaptive Soccer program is designed for players who have disabilities/abilities, and is offered to girls and boys aged 6-16. It is a safe and fun space for children to gain new soccer skills, build relationships and have fun!

Contact:

Program Director

adaptivesoccer@portmoodysoccer.com 

Richmond 

Rosewood Manor, 6260 Blundell Rd.   

Rosewood Manor is a non-profit care home licensed for 151 Complex Care residents including a 35 bed dementia care unit and one respite bed. The Recreation Department provides a variety of individual and group programs designed to meet the social, physical, mental, emotional and spiritual needs of the Residents.       

Contact:

Recreation and Volunteer Manager

604 271 3590 (local 122)

Vancouver

Adanac Park Lodge, 851 Boundary Rd.  

Residential care facility with 72 residents. Average age of residents is mid 70's and many have mental health issues. The Leisure and Volunteer Services Department provides a wide variety of programs to meet the needs and interests of our residents.         

Contact:
Leisure and Volunteer Services Manager
604-299-7567 ext. 310 

BC Wheelchair Sports Association (https://www.bcwheelchairsports.com/get-involved/become-volunteer), 780 SW Marine Drive

BC Wheelchair Sports Association is a not for profit organization that helps people with physical disabilities across the province lead active, healthy lives through wheelchair sports. BCWSA provides wheelchair sport opportunities from grassroots development programs to Paralympic level athletes in the sports of wheelchair tennis, wheelchair rugby, and wheelchair athletics. We are always looking for enthusiastic volunteers to meet a wide variety of volunteering roles from regular programming opportunities, to hosting tournaments!

Contact:

Program Coordinator

604 333 3520 x 209

ana@bcwheelchairsports.com

Canucks Autism Network , 1877 West 8th Avenue

Canucks Autism Network (CAN) provides year-round sports and recreation programs to individuals and families living with autism, while increasing awareness and providing training in communities across British Columbia. Our volunteers collaborate with our trained and qualified staff to provide individualized and adapted support to children, teens and young adults with autism.

Contact: 
Volunteer Coordinator
volunteer@canucksautism.ca / Become a volunteer  

 

City Centre Care Society – Cooper Place, 306 East Cordova Street

https://cccares.org/assisted-living/

Cooper Place is located in the heart of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside, and offers Assisted Living to 70 residents. Many individuals who live here are experiencing mental health issues and/or substance addiction, as well as physical health problems. The Recreation Department works to provide scheduled programs that are compatible to our residents’ interest, needs and abilities. Recreation programming creates a therapeutic environment in which quality of life will flourish.

Contact:

Recreation Program Coordinator

604.684.2545 x2240

cprecreation@cccares.org

Developmental Disabilities Association - Leisure Challenge Program, 2083 East 37 Ave.   

After school community based leisure and recreation program for youth ages 13 to 19 with developmental disabilities. Focus of the program is to teach life and social skills through recreation.      

Contact:
Program Coordinator
604 323 8370  

Dr. Peter Centre, 1110 Comox St. 

Dr. Peter Centre provides a Day Health Program and a 24 bed residence to people living with HIV. Goal is to provide care to those most at risk of deteriorating health.       

Contact:
Volunteer Coordinator
604 608 1874 local 2235  

George Pearson Centre, 700 West 57 Ave.   

George Pearson Centre is an extended long-term care facility for adults with severe physical disabilities. Residents are on average 40 years of age with primary disabilities ranging from those resulting from spinal cord or head injuries to chronic diseases such as multiple sclerosis and ALS and disorders including cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy. Recreation Therapy staff provide volunteer-supported programs designed to stimulate residents either physically, socially or cognitively.       

Contact:  
Coordinator, Volunteer Resources
604 322 8332

Holy Family Hospital

Holy Family Hospital, a Providence Health Care site, is home to 142 extended care residents, as well as one of the largest referral centres for rehabilitation in British Columbia. Residents are older adults working to overcome obstacles caused by strokes, arthritis, orthopedic trauma or major surgeries like hip, ankle, or knee replacements and leg amputations. At Holy Family Hospital each resident is valued as a unique person, deserving of support in order to enjoy a meaningful quality of life, and the team there operates with those core values in mind. Volunteers, please apply through the Providence Health Care volunteer site. 

Contact: 

Coordinator, Volunteer Resources

604-322-2666                                                                                                                                                             

Little Mountain Place, 330 East 36 Ave. 

Residential care facility with 116 residents. Provides specialized services for the visually impaired, the frail elderly, and residents with Alzheimer's Disease or related dementias. Therapeutic Recreation Programs are offered based upon residents' needs; they have a specific goal and purpose, they assist in bringing meaning and satisfaction to one's life and they help to maintain physical and emotional well being.       

Contact:

Coordinator, Volunteer Services 

604 325 2298  

Vancouver Board of Parks and Recreation - Adapted and Integrated Programs, 4575 Clancy Loranger Way  

Access Services is a city wide department supporting children, youth and adults with varying disabilities.  Access Services is led by a Recreational Therapist and in partnership with outside organizations and community associations provides a number of adapted and integrated social-recreational programs.  The primary focus being on supported day camps, adaptive aquatics, and a Summer Sports Festival highlighting outdoor activities such as Kayaking, Sailing, Sit-Ski Waterskiing, Rowing and other activities.       

Contact:
Access Services - Recreation Programmer
604 718 5853

More About Therapeutic Recreation