National Volunteer Week (NVW) is a time to celebrate and thank Canada’s 12.7 million volunteers. Employees across our organization dedicate their spare time to supporting the communities they live and work in through volunteering, asking for nothing in return! This week, and throughout the year, we want to celebrate those people who are truly making a difference.
A number of our employees have been working hard to support their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Members from our Woodlands team were busy last week picking up groceries in Saint John to support the amazing work of the Greater Saint John Emergency Food Program (GSJEFP). The GSJEFP is a collaboration of dedicated not-for-profits responding to the emergency food needs of Saint John residents during COVID-19 by complementing the work of local food banks and delivering grocery packs to doorsteps city-wide. To date, these volunteer heroes have delivered over 22,000 meals
Clariza is a member of our JDI Finance team and has always been actively involved with the community at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. Originally from the Philippines, Clariza moved to Saint John almost 6 years ago and graduated from UNBSJ’s Business Administration program in December 2019. Clariza is a member of the Business Immigration Mentorship program and has held position at the Saint John Newcomers Club, along with being part of many organizations at UNBSJ. Most recently, she has involved with students from the UNBSJ campus who were living on campus (before moving back home) with delivering groceries, supplies, and anything else they may require. She also helped students move back to their homes during the COVID-19 outbreak, both provincially and internationally. “I have some international students who have reached out for different reasons like teaching them how to handle virtual interviews to alleviate anxiety, how to contact government and those sorts of things,” says Clariza about her additional involvement with students at UNBSJ.
For the Love of Sport
Ethan Drummond is not only a member of our Sawmills team, but also a dedicated coach with the Kennebecasis Rowing Club, mentoring high school students on the sport.
" I had a great coach when I was in rowing and I've always wanted to encourage more people to try out the sport!" says Ethan when asked what motivated him to get involved in volunteering.
From organizing off-water training, to 5 AM practices, Ethan is a dedicated member of our volunteer community.
Meet Alan Stewart, General Manager of the team at Shelburne Ship Repair in Shelburne, Nova Scotia. Alan is also a volunteer Rugby coach for Shelburne Regional High School.
On May 8, 2020, Alan will receive an Outstanding Service Award at the 23rd Annual Celebration of School Sports in Halifax. This award goes to a coach who has had a record of long service and who has over his/her career demonstrated commitment to the true values of educational athletics. We would like to extend our congratulations to Alan on his commitment to the Shelburne community and volunteering!
Educating Our Future Leaders
Meet Seth Piercey, a member of our Information Technology team who spends his spare time tutoring with the Pathways to Education group at the Teen Resource Center (TRC) in Saint John, NB. Seth tutors Grade 9-12 students from the South End and Waterloo Village areas in Saint John. This involves helping them with homework, studying for upcoming tests, or even applying for part-time jobs.
"After seeing some of the poverty rates in my community, I was inspired to try to pass on some of the technical skills I learned in University to help bring that rate down. I want the at-risk youth I tutor to understand they have the power to master the areas of math, science, and technology," mentions Seth when asked why he got involved with the TRC. "When i get to see the moment a where everything "clicks" and they become excited about learning, that is the most rewarding part."
Pathways to Education is looking for more tutors! If you are interested, contact email@example.com.
A Family Affair
Not only are Curtis (father), Evan, and Ryan Burley (sons) all members of our Atlantic Towing team, they are also Volunteer Firefighters with the Musquash Fire Rescue team!
When asked what the most rewarding part of volunteering is, Curtis states, "I like being trained to be able to help if and when required in a variety of situations. I've been on a few calls where someone is in a situation that's not the best and you can do a bit to help them through it. For me, it's always been the little things, like a car accident where someone is scared and panicking and I can help them through it just by being there. Or being on a medical call and reassuring a family member. Little stuff like that - There's no big hero moment for me."
Evan adds "The most rewarding part of Volunteering is being able to help out our community in anyway possible. It is always nice at the end of the day after an emergency call, knowing that you did your best to help keep people safe."
"Being able to help as many people as we do. And giving back to our community in a way that we didn’t understand or appreciate as much as before until you join an organization as great as this, and get to see how much time and effort is put into everything they do." says Ryan about why he is volunteering with the Fire Rescue team.
From the Chief of Musquash Fire Rescue, Wayne Pollock:
"The Burley's have been involved with the department for three generations; Curtis' father was the station's original chief dating back to 1985. Over the last 5 years, Curtis, his brother Erick, and his sons Evan and Ryan have joined up as volunteers, making it a real family affair.
The Musquash area is very recreational - we see a lot of cottages and water sports, all along the Fundy Coast. We do get a lot of calls for rescues related to recreational incidents, but also for vehicle accidents, remote rescue, etc.
Our department is unique among fire stations in Atlantic Canada in that we are responsible for assisting the Emergency Response Team at Point Lapreau, the local nuclear plant. That means lots of additional training for all 50+ members, including radiation training. We are also a member of the Canadian Auxiliary Coast Guard.
Offering a Fresh Start
A member of our Information Technology team, Dahlia also sits on the Board of Directors for Fresh Start Services for Women Inc., in Saint John, NB. Fresh start works to reduce poverty and prevent homelessness through ongoing support and services to women in the community and their families.
"Volunteering has been a very fulfilling part of my life, providing me areas to be creative, destress, collaborate with like-minded people, and apply my abilities toward building a better community." says Dahlia about why she was inspired to volunteer.
Dahlia also volunteers with other organizations in the community including The Project Management Institute, Toastmasters, Indo-Canadian Society, and the Asian Heritage Society.
"I have been fortunate enough to work with a group of selfless, dedicated volunteers and staff to care for one of the most vulnerable sections of our society. It has opened my eyes to the challenges we face in our community, in areas I was not exposed to be for." adds Dahlia (referring to her volunteer activities with Fresh Start).
Because this is Home
With a love for Atlantic Canada it is no wonder that KENT associate, Breeanna Billard, has chosen to call Lower Sackville home. Attending University in nearby Halifax allowed her the opportunity to remain in her hometown where she still enjoys the surrounding nature adventures including hiking, trails and ocean.
Breeanna started with Kent Building Supplies in 2013 on cash and has gained experience in the yard, customer service and finance. Along with her KENT family, the customers are what drives her to perform. She enjoys seeing the regulars in the store every day and strives to leave a great impression on all the new customers in hopes that they return regularly. Breeanna feels supported in her role at KENT, stating that the “environment is healthy, happy and friendly”.
KENT is proud to give back to the community in Lower Sackville through the Salvation Army Angel Tree, which is focused on donating Christmas Gifts to children in need, as well as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada Light the Night Walk, which commemorates and celebrates those touched by cancer. Breeanna also supports her community by volunteering at Knox United Church at their Annual Turkey supper. She believes “giving back to the community is important to keep the love and kindness flowing”.
Lynn Holt is a member of our Cavendish Farms team and is no stranger to the volunteer community. She has been a part of volunteering with Partners Assisting Local Schools (PALS), United Way, and J.D. Irving Moncton Group's Day of Caring. Her volunteer activities include weekly visits to the school to read, play games, and just talk with students, raising money for different fundraisers through the year, and building community gardens!
"Seeing the good that you're doing. For example, the relationship with the little boy in PALS I mentored for 6 years was beneficial for both of us," says Lynn when asked what is the most rewarding part of volunteering for her.
No stranger to retail, Jim Power began with Kent Building Supplies in Halifax 20 years ago and now proudly holds the position of Store Manager in Charlottetown, PEI. His favourite part of his job is the people. Jim lives by the motto that “we are all customers and we know how we want to be treated”. Seeing the interaction through the customer’s perspective, you get a better idea of what will make them happy and what will create a long-lasting relationship.
Jim is a staple in the local music community, volunteering his time for local events and helping where he can. He enjoys spending time at the Confederation Centre for the Arts which celebrates Canada’s rich history and commemorates the foundation of the Confederation. He believes that part of living in Atlantic Canada means being ingrained in your community through support and engagement.
Meet Sara Hubbard, a member of our Transportation and Logistics team and an active member of the Saint John Pride community. She helped found UBU Saint John, which is a transgender support group, a facilitator with PFLAG Saint John, and the vice-president of the Saint John Pride board, which organizes the Saint John Pride festival each year.
"Seeing someone walk into a meeting nervous, unsure and scared, and then at the end of the meeting be all smiles and optimistic," is the reason Sara is so actively involved. "Meeting with members of the community, doing education sessions, and seeing those ah-ha moments in their eyes," adds Sara.
Volunteer Firefighter Brian Willams in a dedicated member of the Nauwigewauk Fire Department and a member of our Woodlands team.
"My younger brother became a volunteer firefighter about 15 years ago in his hometown outside of Woodstook, NB. I thought if he is doing it, I should too," says Brian about why he became a volunteer. Most recently, Brian's father has also joined the fire service as well. "Being able to do what I can to help someone when they are having potentially the worst day of their life is just the right thing to do." adds Brian.
The Nauwigewauk Fire Department has made themselves available to run errands for groceries and supplies that may be required for seniors and those living with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thank you to all the members of the Nauwigewauk Fire Department for their commitment to the community, especially the most vulnerable, during this time. To learn more about the Fire Department’s efforts, you can follow them on facebook here.
Learn more about National Volunteer Week here: https://volunteer.ca/nvw2014