Parents of Frank Hobbs Elementary

Your school, your community.



There are still two vacant positions on the PAC executive this year, the Fundraising Coordinator and the Frank Hobbs VCPAC Representative. Check out the role descriptions by following the link on this website to the PAC constitution (click on ABOUT PAC on the link above).

The role of fundraising coordinator is a fun one – and is a way to meet others, share ideas and help create some fun events at the school.

The other vacant exec position is that of VCPAC rep. This is a great role for someone who is interested in knowing more about conversations about education that are taking place at the District level. You would have the chance to attend monthly VCPAC meetings, to communicate with our parents about what is being talked about at the district, vote on behalf of the parents at Frank Hobbs, and ensure our school is heard in important issues. More information can be found on the VCAPAC website, or email us at with questions if you’re interested.

A position on the exec means that you would get chance to meet with other exec members, share ideas, and have tonnes of fun too – the group usually meet every month or two, usually in an evening, to review the upcoming plans, and discuss ideas for ways to help the school. These are really rewarding ways to get involved.

There are other ways of helping too!

At the moment, we still have NO Garden Time at the school this year, as there are no parent coordinators to help out.

Other empty volunteer positions for this year:

– Webpage Coordinator (updating this website as information is available – easy job to do at home)

– Healthy Lunch Coordinator (mostly emailing other parents to ensure volunteers are at school for deliveries and making sure orders are placed once a month)

– Newsletter Coordinator (another creative job that can be done from home – putting together the monthly PAC news on an electronic ‘flyer’)

– Fruit and Vegetable Coordinator (once a month at the school – this is a fun one to do with another person at the school and is a great way of supporting the classrooms. You can bring any younger children you have to help too!)

– CRD Active and Safe Route to School Coordinator

Please email us at if you are interested in finding out more.

Volunteering is a really great way of getting to know people and have a lot of fun….never underestimate the power of being a positive role model too!

Please consider volunteering your:

Time – volunteering your time is an excellent way to stay involved and engaged with the school and local community.

Talent – we’d love to hear your ideas for how we can help support our school!

Treasure – if you are busy and can’t come to the school, we are always looking for donations! The PAC support a huge range of amazing initiatives at the school. Check out our budget page for more information. Look out for our annual spring fundraising request. We just put out one ‘ask’ a year so that parents don’t feel pressurized by various fundraising initiatives through the year.

Volunteer Spotlight : Tara Mc Hugh and Katrina Madsen

Tara and Katrina

What do you do at the school?

We work with student volunteers in the garden on Monday lunch times, looking after the Garden Club. We’re helping the children learn about native plants, insects and gardening in general.  We’ve also started a small veggie garden this year!

How long have you been doing this?

We took on the work at the club from September 2012. We’re following the lead of Peter Willis and Barb Bundon and trying keeping the garden a relaxed place to be, letting the children play in the garden while they work.   We’ve also had a lot of help this year from Gardenworks, helping with supplies and working with the children.

What motivated you to start helping out at the garden?

 Tara: I love gardening! There are many important lessons to be taught to children about nature, the environment and where our food comes from.

Katrina: I wanted to help teach the children about nature and the sensitive Douglas Fir ecosystem that surrounds the school.

Have you had any other help this year?

We’ve been really lucky with a great team of volunteers who came to help in the garden with mulching and weeding in the Fall. A handful of people also came in the spring to help with more tidying around the native plants. Jessy Oakes and Ayako Greig have helped on the Monday lunch times. It’s been great to get the extra help….and there’s always plenty to do!

 When you’re not helping out at the school, what do you do?

 Tara: I run a floral design business specializing in weddings and events and am also a stay at home mom.

Katrina: I am lucky to be able to stay at home with my kids.  I don’t work outside of the home.  However, I am looking for some odd gardening jobs since that is my favorite thing to do.

Does the garden club take up a lot of your time/ how do you find time to help out?

Tara:  Like everything in life, you just do your best to make it happen!

Katrina: The work with the garden club is mostly just one hour a week plus some organizing with Tara.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about volunteering?

Tara: If you’re considering volunteering at the gardening club we would love extra help any Monday or for any of our larger planned clean ups. The kids gets really excited and are very keen on planting, watering and learning about gardening. It’s very rewarding and a lot of fun to be around!

Katrina: If you love children and want to help it’s a great way of getting involved.  The garden club could really use some volunteers to water over the summer which can also be fun if you involve your children!


Volunteer Spotlight : Cathy Boraston

Cathy Boraston USE THIS ONE

What do you do at the school/ with the PAC?

I’ve been a parent coordinator and delivery volunteer for the BC School Fruit and Vegetable Nutritional Program for the last six years, since it’s inception.

As well as this, I’m a parent co-coordinator for the Frank Hobbs Swim Team, a co-coordinator and volunteer for the Hot Lunch (Hot Dog) days and I volunteer at various school events.

I have also helped out in the past by being a classroom helper and I still volunteer to be a parent driver for class field trips.

What children do you have at Frank Hobbs?

My girls are in Grade three at the school. I also have another daughter who is at Arbutus Middle School in Grade seven. Here’s a fun fact…I went to Frank Hobbs too! You can see my name (Cathy Juricic) engraved in the front hallway!

What do you do when you’re not helping out at the school?

I am a Registered Physiotherapist. I work at UVIC as an Occupational Health and Safety Consultant, where I run the Ergonomics Program for faculty and staff.

Out of work, I play field hockey in the Vancouver Island Ladies Field Hockey League. I also coach, manage and coordinate in the Victoria Junior Field Hockey League.

I am also very busy with all my daughters’ extracurricular activities – soccer, field hockey, gymnastics, piano…..and more!

What motivated you to volunteer?

I love to help with programs that I believe are valuable and important for my daughters and at the school. It’s really rewarding to get involved and meet the teachers, students….and other families!

Did you need prior experience to help out at the school?

Only that I was required to complete the FoodSafe course in order to coordinate the Fruit and Vegetable Program.

Does it take a lot of your time?

It can…..but the amount of time fluctuates a lot depending on the program and the activity.

What do you do if you can’t help out one week?

We are really lucky to have a strong group of supportive parent volunteers that help in every program.  We help each other out if needed.

What do you enjoy most about volunteering?

I really love seeing my kids “in action” at school and Swim Club! Other rewards include spending time with other volunteers, meeting teachers and other students and I get real satisfaction from the knowledge that I am providing an important service to the school.

What advice would you give someone thinking about getting more involved?

  • Don’t be shy! 
  • We can always use more volunteers – especially parents of children in the younger grades who will be at the school for several years to come.
  • Look on the PAC website and see what programs or events might be of interest to you. Seek out other PAC members and volunteers…..and come join us at the next opportunity!
  • Remember – volunteering benefits you, your children, and your school community.


Volunteer Spotlight : Gary Walmsley


Gary is a retired certified BC classroom teacher, administrator and University of Victoria sessional lecturer.

Recipient of the 1999 “Distinguished Education Alumni Award” from the University of Victoria. He has a B.Ed. (Hon) in Elementary Education and History from UBC and a M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction – UVic.

He has taught grades two through ten in the Vancouver, Nelson and Greater Victoria School Districts and has been both a school-based administrator, Supervisor of Instruction and Assistant Director of Curriculum Services with the Greater Victoria School District. 

Gary was seconded to the Ministry of Education for three years to assist in the development and implementation of the Intermediate Program resulting from the Sullivan Royal Commission on Education.  He has recently retired from the University of Victoria Faculty of Education where he taught curriculum and instruction and supervised student teachers for 15 years.

What do you do at the school?

I work with my two dogs, Benson and Cooper, providing opportunities for children to practice their reading, gain confidence in expressing themselves through both verbal and non-verbal communication and, hopefully, increasing self-esteem.

The experience is a shift away from the children viewing themselves as the target of yet another remedial program and towards them seeing themselves as tutors and helpers for the dog. This is liberating and satisfying for the children and frees them from performance pressure.  When a Paws and Tales dog is listening, the child is excited to read and tell the dog the story. The dog’s handler supports the child’s efforts and helps build vocabulary, increase comprehension and, as a result, the child reads with greater fluency. 

Can you give a background on the program?

The Pacific Animal Assistance Society Paws and Tales program is based on the Reading Education Assistance Dogs program (R.E.A.D.).  R.E.A.D. began when Intermountain Therapy Animals started a pilot program at an elementary school in Salt Lake City, Utah. Details can be found at

What motivated you to get involved?

I was privileged to serve as a teacher and school-based administrator for over 40 years in Vancouver, Nelson and Victoria.  I taught grades two through ten in the public schools and taught for 15 years in the Faculty of Education at the University of Victoria. My first passion, however, was as a classroom teacher, to which I returned at Tillicum Elementary shortly before I retired.

Upon retiring, I wanted to do something to continue to support children and learning. One day my wife and I accompanied our daughter and grandchildren to the mainland to see about bringing home a Golden Retriever for Jacob, (a former Frank Hobbs student).  We came home with two puppies – one for Jacob and one for Gary.

We enrolled both dogs in early (and then advanced) behaviour classes and quickly saw that they had some special abilities.  We were encouraged to seek out the Pacific Animal Therapy Society and through this wonderful organization were able to complete training and certification for us and the dogs to become active participants in Paws and Tales.

How much time do you spend at Frank Hobbs?

I come to the school almost every Tuesday and Thursday morning from recess until the lunch hour.  I bring Benson one morning and Cooper on the other day, so that both dogs have the opportunity to work with the children.  Each dog has unique strengths and I bring the most appropriate dog on a given day to meet the needs of those children.  Benson is a super listener and loves to have the children read to him.   He makes eye-contact with the reader and responds to their tone of voice and focuses on them exclusively.  He is a little reserved but lets the children know he is interested in what they have to say. He is patient and faithful and loves the children.

Cooper is super sensitive and is almost uncannily aware of a person’s emotional needs – child or adult! I have seen him often approach a child who is unsure or upset and demonstrate his great empathy for them.  While he does listen to children as they read to him, his great gift is his empathy with those who are non-verbal, or those whom he senses need his closeness and empathy.  He is a “cuddler” and loves close contact with children….and adults!

How many children do you read with?

Cooper, Benson and I began in November of 2009 reading with the children in Mary Head and Andrea Chorney’s classes – we focused on some children who would most benefit from the opportunity but we early decided to give all the children in Grade One the opportunity to read at least once to a dog during the year.  This expanded so that at present the dogs are active listeners to the children from Miila Pullan, Helena Hodgins, and Paul Borich’s classes as well as children in Pam Ewart’s and other classes too, as occasion and time permits.

Also, because we are highly visible and accessible, children (and adults too!) take the opportunity to greet, pet, and hug the dogs whenever they are in the hallways – the dogs love the attention. I think the parents do too!

What are your objectives for the programme?

• To provide opportunities for children to express themselves through both verbal and non-verbal expression in a safe and comfortable setting using dogs as active participants and listeners with a teaching professional in a support role.

• To help students gain self-confidence and self-esteem through their success in reading as well as in both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

• To help children gain awareness, empathy and sensitivity towards an animal as a partner in their learning and in exploring the world around them.

What do you most enjoy about spending time at the school?

One of the most satisfying parts of volunteering at Frank Hobbs is to be able to continue to be of service to children, to enhance and enrich their learning, and to have them experience another way of learning while reading to an animal.

I am pleased too, as many of the children cannot have pets (either because of housing restrictions or family needs) but through my work they can have a connection with an animal that cares about them.

For me, volunteering to work with children is a wonderful opportunity to continue to do something I love – teaching. I can give something back for all the years I enjoyed as a teacher and……I don’t have to write report cards!

The Dogs 

Benson and Cooper are Golden Retrievers registered with the Canadian Kennel Club. Both dogs have been trained, certified and insured as “AAT” (“Animal-Assisted Therapy”) Dogs through the Pacific Animal Therapy Society. Their certification has included specialized training and independent assessment as to their competence, attitude and behaviour by an independent Registered BC Veterinarian. Both dogs and owners are registered with the Pacific Animal Therapy Society – Web Site:

Last year, SHAW television video-taped Cooper and Benson at work in Frank Hobbs.  A clip of this video can be seen using this web link


Volunteer Spotlight : Liz Miller (previously at Frank Hobbs!)

liz miller

What do you do at the school?

Currently I am in my third year co-ordinating the Call-Back program.  There are a dozen of us that share the Monday-Friday responsibility of ensuring all students have arrived safely at school.  In the past I was the Safe Routes to school coordinator and also have assisted with fundraising and replacement of the playground equipment.

What children do you have at the school?

I currently have one of my sons in Grade four.  My two older boys are now students at Oak Bay High.  This is my 11th consecutive year with a student at Frank Hobbs.  Next year I “graduate”.

What do you do outside the school?

My husband, John van Driesum, and I are both trained as lawyers.  We primarily work on conducting Worker’s Compensation Appeals. I also enjoy attending yoga classes and keeping fit, whenever I can find time for myself!

Why did you first volunteer?

I have been volunteering at the school since 2002.  Frank Hobbs has been a wonderful community for my boys and knowing the teachers and staff on a bit more of a personal level makes it so that I am very confident they are in a safe and healthy learning environment.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

When I see the kids outside spinning, hanging and jumping on the play equipment and know that I was part of making that happen I love it!  But I think most important is the sense of being part of the community of staff, teachers and parents that are looking out for all the kids.

What advice would you give someone thinking about getting more involved?

Pick something you think you might enjoy and that will fit with your schedule.  Personally, I like schedules and organization so the 45 minutes at the same time every week works for me.  If you’re a good party organizer and would rather blitz on an event then look at helping with one of the dances or fairs.  If you like quieter pursuits there is often a place on one of the committees too; the School Planning Council or VCPAC have openings at the current time.


Volunteer Spotlight : Jen Aitken (previously at Frank Hobbs!)

Child(ren) at Frank Hobbs?

I have a son in grade five and another son who is in grade seven at Arbutus Middle School.

What do you do at the school?

I help to co-ordinate the Subway Days with Clare McCutcheon. In previous years, I also volunteered with the swim club and the cross country team.

How do you spend the rest of your time?

When I’m not at the school, I work with my husband at his Chartered Accountants business, Abercrombie & Associates. I also have my own business writing obituaries (see which is both time consuming and fun. Of course, I am also busy at home with all the work that goes into raising kids… there’s never a dull moment!

What are your interests or hobbies?

I really enjoy running and that’s where you’ll find me if I have any spare time at all! I aim to run for 20km on a weekend day, with another two or three runs mid-week if possible.

Why did you get involved with the school?  

I believe that giving back to our community is our social responsibility. I saw how excited kids and parents were about hot lunch days, and thought it would be a really positive volunteer contribution to make. I suggested to my sister-in-law Claire that we take on the program, and she jumped at it. It’s that basic.

What do you enjoy about volunteering?

I love that I get to see so many of the kids, teachers and staff in the school and I am really connected to the school. When we drop off the lunches in the classrooms, it feels like we’re rock stars – happy kids!

What tips would you give to others who are thinking of becoming more involved?

For anyone thinking about volunteering, consider you’ll likely have at least six years of involvement with the school (longer than many other jobs!), so give a little time and reap the benefits of feeling connected to the school community.