The theme of this year’s annual general meeting of Parkland Victims Services (PVS) held June 2 at St. Mary’s Ukrainian Catholic Cultural Centre was expansion.
Last year, the organization added six new RCMP detachments to the area it serves, Canora, Esterhazy, Melville, Moosomin, Wadena and Wynyard. PVS also serves nine First Nations communities in the area.
Board chair Deb Schmidt explained.
“Geographic location should not be a defining moment for a victim of crime,” she said. “If they have a file that’s with the RCMP or local police detachment, they should be able to have that support regardless of their geographic location.”
The expansion necessitated passing two resolutions at the AGM.
The first modified the Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws to extend membership opportunities to the new service areas. The second doubled the maximum number of board members to 30.
Both passed unanimously.
Of course, rapid expansion comes with growth pains, not the least of which is human resources. Victims Services is volunteer-driven and recruiting new volunteers is always top of mind for Cheryl Tiller, the organization’s coordinator.
“Bringing on new volunteers is biggest challenge,” she said. “It’s hard, first of all, for people to give of their time for what we might be looking for, but it’s also just needing to get out into the communities and continue educate and look for volunteers. We’re always looking for more and anybody can give us a call and we’ll be happy to sit down and talk to them.”
Tiller also presented a report to the AGM of Victims Services statistics for 2013-2014. It showed total referrals for their Police-based program at 508, up from 403 the previous year. The Aboriginal Resource Officer Program handled 102 compared to 73 in 2012-2013.
The jump was also expansion-related.
“The majority of that is because of our expansion,” Tiller said. “The year before we didn’t have the other six detachments so it’s getting them on board and getting them forwarding the referrals to us,” she said.
The board also held elections during the AGM acclaiming Pearl Koolloos, Gerry Peppler, Doris Rudy and Deb Schmidt to one-year terms and Jean Bryski, Loran Campbell, Merle Sherwin and Sherry Harrison to two-year terms.
Anyone wishing to obtain more information about volunteering can call 306.786.2408 or stop by any of the RCMP detachments.