It takes a village to raise a community

Local volunteers share reasons behind giving their time

The paper you are reading has a legion of volunteers, and it is volunteer work that makes our amazing community festivals possible.

National Volunteer Week runs from April 7-13, with a theme that suits our area: The Volunteer Factor—Lifting Communities.

Why do so many people work for free? I volunteer on the Rat Creek Press board as the volunteer coordinator and on the fundraising committee with editor Talea Medynski because we love this little paper and want to help it stay afloat, but also because we get to work with other amazing people. This paper contributes to the vibrancy and connectedness of our communities.

We also run the 118 Ladies Night Work Out together because we wanted to create a free space for women to exercise in our community league. I’ve volunteered as a form of activism and to increase social justice, at orphanages and refugee camps overseas, and at the Sexual Assault Centre here.

Other volunteers shared their reasons for giving their time.

Julie McCrea has volunteered since her late teens at the student help centre at the University of Saskatchewan, Habitat for Humanity, as well as for other events and causes.  

“I was instilled with the idea that you should make an effort to contribute to the community and found early on that it was a tremendously fulfilling feeling when I did,” she said. McCrea is on the Alberta Ave Community League board, and fosters dogs for the Barrhead Animal Rescue Society and CaliCan Rescue. “Things improve for everyone when people take time to give back in whatever way they can.  It is also a great way to meet amazing people!”

Deborah Fehr started volunteering at 13 in a nursing home, continuing in Girl Guides and Scouts Canada for many years. For the past decades, she’s worked with Youth Justice. She also volunteers in her children’s and grandchildren’s schools, and at Kaleido, Deep Freeze, and Folk Fest.

It gives her pleasure to serve others, and because “the people who volunteer are generally fun, dedicated, caring people who create communities that I have always been happy to be a part of,” Fehr said. “It makes me a more diverse person, with a greater understanding of others. I am more because I volunteer.”

Valda Roberts took the volunteer management program at MacEwan University in the late 80s. “I come from a fairly small town and was raised to be of service in my community,” she said.

Roberts volunteered for the Edmonton Folk Music Festival and for North Country Fair for over 20 years, and has also volunteered at local festivals. “I am sure I get as much out of volunteering as I give in,” she said. “I have had the privilege of meeting a wealth of amazing people from all walks of life and cultures I have seen and experienced great art and music and felt much joy from my volunteering experiences.”

She also started a service choir that will sing to bring comfort to those who are dying.

”Giving to my community just seems like a natural thing to do,” said Roberts.


VOLUNTEER FAIR

Saturday, April 27

11 am to 5 pm

Commonwealth Rec Centre

11000 Stadium Rd


Featured Image: Animal lover Julie McCrea makes sure those who can’t speak for themselves get help. | Supplied by Julie McCrea

Alita Rickards

Alita moonlights as a freelance writer focused on interesting people, music, arts, food, culture, sustainable lifestyles, and human rights. These same things attracted her to become a homeowner in vibrant, diverse, walkable Alberta Avenue.

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