Barb Butterfield is the kind of person you can instantly connect with. It’s no wonder that she makes such a wonderful addition to the Seniors One Stop (SOS) team. Barb’s role at North Shore Community Resources (NSCR) is a unique one – she is both a volunteer and an employee. Since 2019, Barb’s role evolved her role from volunteer to community connector – something she is eager about.
In 1990, Barb moved to North Vancouver after spending the first parts of her life in Quebec and Ontario. When she arrived at the West Coast, she fell in love with the trails, green spaces, and fresh air that this region is known for. Since then, she has made a strong group of friends and connected with people in the community, solidifying a lasting love for this region. Her relationships with her friends extends through her personal life and into the professional. It’s at her core to stay connected.
Keep reading to learn about more about Barb and the SOS team.
From Community College to Community Connector
When Barb’s kids went to college, she decided to go back to school as well. She enrolled in the Community Counselling certificate program at Vancouver Community College. Her volunteering practicum was at Harvest Project where she did one-on-one community counselling for five years and has stayed involved with them as their resource coordinator. In 2019, Barb’s interest in client relations drew her to NSCR. After a discussion with our volunteer coordinator, she signed up for one day per week sharing her resource knowledge with clients at the SOS program.
Barb’s passion for building client relationships and her knowledge of what is available to the community makes her a wonderful fit at NSCR. She finds fulfillment in being able to help answer questions, direct people to resources, and suggest things to seniors that they may not realize are out there.
Exploring the North Shore and Northern Italy
Even after 30 years of being a North Shore resident, Barb still appreciates the things that make it the place she fell in love with. She also understands the importance of community. To this day, she has a strong group of friends that she made when her kids were in elementary school. They hike on a weekly basis, go on road trips, snowshoe, cycle, golf, and get together for COVID-safe socialization.
With friends, Barb also took up backpacking in her early 50s. She says that having people to learn with is a major reason why it’s become something she loves to do. Not only do they hike areas like Hyannis and snowshoe up Dog Mountain, but she has gone to the Rocky Mountains multiple times for hiking trips.
Barb’s sense of adventure have taken her on a solo trip to Italy! Cycling and traveling are two things she has wanted to do for a long time. And now, she is seizing the opportunity to prove to herself what she can do on her own by taking a biking tour through the lake region in northern Italy. While she claims not to be a huge cyclist, she is sure to enjoy exploring the country and learn more about herself.
How Seniors One Stop Supports the Community
The SOS program supports the independence, dignity, and health of seniors on the North Shore by providing information and referral to a wide range of resources and services. SOS is your first step to finding the information you need.
We provide information on how to access home support, meal and shopping programs, transportation options and where to attain supportive equipment. Let us assist you to navigate information on subsidized housing, financial benefits, and referrals to legal services. SOS helps you to stay connected and active with information about social, recreational, and volunteer activities.
Our free and confidential services are offered by phone or by appointment. We will listen carefully, answer any questions you may have, and empower you with information. Call 604.982.3312or email [email protected] to book an appoint to come in and see us.
Our Growing Initiatives
Since COVID-19 we have tuned in to how many older adults benefit from receiving support outside of traditional medical interventions. Isolation impedes wellness, so socializing and being connected are vital to well-being. Between the supports NSCR has in place, and Barb’s interest in resources, we have been working on an ongoing initiative to help seniors live healthy and connected lives. Since September 2021, the SOS team has built up our social prescribing resources through the role of Community Connector.
Resources Available to Seniors
Of the many supports that SOS provides, Barb notes two significant things that older adults in our community should be aware of. The first is our Seniors Directory done in collaboration with the North Shore News. Lots of work goes into ensuring that it is up to date. It covers an array of services, including finances, health and support, housing, legal resources, meal and shopping programs, and social education and recreation. To get a hard copy, pick one up at our office.
There is also a specific program that Barb wishes more people knew about. The SAFER (Shelter Aid For Elderly Renters) program is provided by BC Housing. Seniors who spend over 30% of their monthly income on their rent can apply for a supplement. At SOS, we have the application forms ready and can help clients fill them out.
Drop By and Connect with Barb
As you can tell by now, Barb loves working with people. She matches seniors with the resources that will benefit them. She finds it rewarding to hear about people’s situations and provide suggestions. Sometimes, it’s nice just to have a conversation and provide encouragement. For her, and the rest of our team, this work goes beyond just giving generic answers. If there is something we don’t know, we will do the research to find out. At the very least, someone will always listen.