Josefine Singh is an active volunteer who values family

Longtime Parkdale resident and retiree Josefine Singh loves living in the community, particularly “the trees, the neighbourhood feeling, and getting to know people.” She adds, “When I walk down the streets, the kids say, ‘here comes grandma.’ ” 

A mother of five and a grandmother of three, Singh has lived in Parkdale for over 30 years. All of her children attended kindergarten at the Norwood Centre and then went to St. Alphonsus School for elementary. In fact, along with some teachers from the school, Singh helped organize their 75-year anniversary celebrations even though her children were already in post-secondary school. 

Josefine Singh is an active volunteer. | Sarah Dotimas

Singh’s family is the most important thing to her. She reserves Sundays for talking to her children and grandchildren over the phone. Four of her children live outside of Edmonton and she divides her time travelling to see each of them. She has a son who recently moved to St. John’s, Newfoundland, and she is looking forward to visiting him soon since she has never been there before. 

Environmental issues are also very dear to her. While she volunteers for several environmental organizations, her favourite one is Nature Conservation Canada. She shares that their purpose is “to get corridors for animals to live and…wild animals, you don’t want to lose them.”

She also contributes her time to Leftovers Foundation Edmonton, which rescues food from local restaurants, bakeries, and grocery stores and then delivers it to over 50 service agencies, into the hands of those who need it the most. At a recent volunteer appreciation dinner, Singh was recognized for her dedication, having delivered the most food in weight and also for stepping up when the organization needed help at the last minute. 

Josefine is also an artist. | Sarah Dotimas

Her grandfather was a forester who looked after the health of the trees and animals in the forest. She recalled that her family had a compost for food waste; they also used paper waste and wood for heat, cooking, and baking. Her mother had a plot in their community garden and she described the empty lots-turned green space with plenty of grass, garden plots, apple trees, peach trees, and even a hut. She reminisced about harvesting berries for pancakes. It’s evident that her upbringing provided some early learning that created a foundation for her interests and a passion for fighting for a more sustainable world. 

Josefine was recently honoured for her volunteerism at Leftovers Foundation Edmonton. | Sarah Dotimas

Additionally, she volunteers for other organizations such as Parkdale Cromdale Community League, where she works casinos and supervises the skating rink. She helps out with a group called Grandmothers of Alberta for a New Generation. The group also raises money to support grandmothers in Africa, their orphaned grandchildren, and their communities impacted by HIV and AIDS. 

Even in her retirement, Singh has not slowed down and always keeps herself busy. She is definitely a gem in the Parkdale community and is appreciated by many of her neighbours, including Sabine Schmelz, who believes that Singh is “a strong-minded woman who fights for causes she believes in and willing to help others.”

Featured Image: Josefine Singh has lived in the Parkdale community for over 30 years. | Sarah Dotimas