The Rat Creek Press’ newest volunteer coordinator has a fascinating history.

Alita Rickards travelled extensively for 15 years throughout Taiwan, India, and the Czech Republic and lived for 10 years in Taiwan. She was a journalist for the Taipei Times, a voice recorder for the International Community Radio Taipei, a teacher, and a performer in a cabaret troupe.

But after many years abroad, she decided it was time to come home.

“I had a radical shift about four years ago,” said Rickards. “My parents were getting older and I wanted more permanency than an expat life could afford.”

In 2013 she moved back to Canada and this past May, Rickards and her sister bought a house in Alberta Avenue.

“I wanted to be part of a community. In Taiwan, I would make a lifelong friend and then [that person] would move away. I wanted to go home and be around my family. I live with my sister,” Rickards said, explaining the house is divided into separate quarters.

Rickards said she’s becoming happily entrenched in the community. Last month, she saw the notice for RCP’s Annual General Meeting and call for board members. Soon after, a chance conversation convinced her to run.

“I met a lady and was telling her about my house. She ended up having a relative close by. I told her about the board post and was telling her about how more women need to be on boards,” Rickards explained. “She was like ‘what about you? Aren’t you a woman?’ ”

Rickards decided to apply for a board position and was successful in getting the volunteer coordinator position. She’s looking forward to the challenge of how to reward volunteers.

“Volunteers are essential to a thriving festival or organization. They really provide the meat on the bones.”  

While she is still learning about the position, she has ideas on how to show RCP volunteers appreciation, like buying a Groupon, or organizing a barbecue or block party.

“I really hope to engage local businesses in showing support for volunteers. And maybe there’s a way we can reward those businesses so it’s a mutual benefit for everyone,” Rickards said. “The biggest reward is to include the volunteers in fun things.”

Rickards said inclusion is important. “We’re all in this together and we support one another.”

There are many volunteer opportunities with the Rat Creek Press. We welcome writers, photographers, illustrators, researchers, website/social media assistants, delivery help, advertising help, neighbourhood ambassadors, and special project leaders.



Featured Image: Alita Rickards is looking forward to showing volunteers appreciation. | Alita Rickards