/ Stories

Junior Volunteers at Peace Villa: Bringing joy to long-term care residents


Two women stand in front of sign for Peace Villa smiling
Jennifer MacPhee, Program Coordinator, with Junior Volunteer Ella.

When Program Coordinator Jennifer MacPhee heard about the possibility of young volunteers coming to Peace Villa, long-term care facility in Fort St. John, she was immediately excited by the opportunity. Now in her second year of working with volunteers, Jennifer has grown the program and is helping over 30 junior volunteers get involved in making life busier, richer, and more exciting for the residents.

“Volunteers help Peace Villa feel more like a community,” says Jennifer. “Having so many age groups interacting with our residents brings normalcy to their lives, reminding them of when their children went to school. You often hear residents ask the students about afterschool sports, do they have a job, what grade are they in, and what they would like to be when finished school.”

“The students are open to trying all kinds of games and activities – even learning a new game like bridge,” she adds. “We include them with all recreation activities from our monthly calendar and give them the option of what they would like to attend.”

Volunteers also bring their own special skills and interests. Cali, one of the junior volunteers, came in for her shift dressed in her 2023/2024 Miss British Columbia School Rodeo Queen gear. She spoke with residents who had farmed, ranched, been involved with rodeos, or just had a love of everything “country”. The roots of rodeo go back to 1945 in Fort St. John, and it was celebrated by all in the Peace Region. Many residents had memories from the past, sharing countless stories and connections to their families.

Staff are grateful for this group of volunteers, especially for their assistance during mealtime. Volunteers help with serving meals, clearing the tables, or helping transport the residents to the dining area or living room after mealtime for extended conversation or game play.

“By the time it’s bedtime, residents are happy, tired, and ready for bed,” Jennifer says with a smile. “Volunteers are making a world of difference!”

During National Volunteer Week, we thank volunteers all across Northern Health who are changing lives with every hour they give.