What first inspired you to volunteer?
My parents first inspired me to volunteer – they are incredible role models and have always set the example to give back to your community to make it a better place. At 76 and 74 years of age, they still volunteer today and I couldn’t be more proud of them both! I only hope one day my boys will say the same thing about me.
Which cause are you most passionate about and why?
Oh… I have quite a few that I am passionate about :) Currently my top cause would be the Sunrise Rotary Club and our Interior Savings RibFest Kelowna project. This is a family festival that will be held September 16-18 in City Park featuring award winning ribs, entertainment and children’s activities. I am very passionate about this cause as the prime beneficiary is Shoe Bank Canada who provides shoes to the working poor and homeless across 30 communities throughout BC, including right here in Kelowna! Having a pair of shoes on our feet is something many of us totally take for granted. Yet a simple pair of shoes can be the difference between getting that job, or not, or providing children the opportunity to participate in organized sports. Both of these can be life changing events for an individual… all from a donated pair of shoes… imagine?!
Which organization do you most commonly volunteer for?
I’ve logged over 120 volunteer hours so far this year. I regularly volunteer for the Kelowna Sunrise Rotary, The Canadian Mental Health Association, Canadian Co-operative Association, Interior Savings' Across the Lake Swim Society, Maxine Dehart’s United Way Breakfast, etc…
What does a typical volunteer shift look like for this organization?
For the Canadian Mental Health Association, a group of my co-workers and I volunteer twice a year to maintain the gardens at their WillowBridge facility. When we first started, the gardens were very overgrown, but now that we attend twice a year we can keep the property looking beautiful. I love to volunteer for this organization as we always get such nice compliments from the neighbors and staff on our work and we get to spend the day outside together which helps build our teamwork outside the office doing something very meaningful that just makes you feel good.
What impact have you seen volunteers make in the community?
To me it is quite simple ~ Volunteers make a community! They are the people that give so freely of themselves just to make this world a better place. We are very fortunate in Kelowna to have so many wonderful caring people who volunteer and give back to make this such an extraordinary community!
What is the most memorable moment or experience you've had while volunteering?
While volunteering in Africa with the Canadian Co-operative Association, I had the opportunity to re-visit a credit union I had worked with on a previous visit. This credit union had only one request – for us to help them realize their goal of providing a water hole for their community. My fellow volunteer partner and I gave them many strategies to help them realize the capital for this project… 2 years later I had the chance to return and they had built their water hole! They also went one step further and made it sustainable by selling the water for profit to a commercial company but they also remembered their roots and provided it free for personal use to their community members…wow…WOW!! I have never been more proud to know that I was a small part of a project that changed a whole community.
What support does your organization currently need, and how can people learn more or get involved?
My Rotary Club, Sunrise Rotary, currently needs volunteers... MANY volunteers to help us with our upcoming RibFest Festival on September 16-18 in City Park. The website is www.ribfestkelowna.com and you can register and volunteer for shifts under the ‘Join Us’ tab at the top of the website or you can just visit this site to find out more about this fabulous event.
I also hope that everyone who reads this will come out and try some ribs, vote for your favourite and enjoy this family festival with great live entertainment and kid zone activities that we have spent countless hours organizing for our community...did I mention it has FREE ADMISSION?! ;)
Is there anyone else you would like to recognize that has helped support you to make a difference?
I absolutely need to recognize my employer and fellow co-workers at Interior Savings. They are amazing and a huge supporter of giving back in our communities. They have supported me in my quest to make a difference in the lives of others and for that I am eternally grateful and very proud to work for such a remarkable company and with such dedicated individuals. I also need to give a shout out to my Rotary Club “family” Kelowna Sunrise Rotary for being such a fun, vibrant club who believes in giving back. I am very lucky to be in such good company with these incredible Rotarians.