Giving Time and Passion

Volunteering has always been an important part of my life. Giving my time and energy to causes that I am passionate about has given me hope when I needed it most, friendships and connections across the country, and a sense of belonging to something bigger than myself.

For example, I have been volunteering with the Edmonton Public Library for nearly a decade now, first as a member of the Aboriginal Advisory Group and then as a Trustee on the Library Board. I think libraries play an important role in community building and giving people access to the skills they need to succeed in a variety of ways. My term as a Board Trustee is coming to an end at the end of this month and I am reflecting fondly on my time with EPL. In my time on the Board, I have been able to share in many milestones for our library, from the EPL Centennial and the approving free library cards to all Edmontonians to cutting the ribbon of the West Henday eplGO location and signing my name on Grafitti Day before the demolition of the Stanley A. Milner Library. This weekend, I will be presenting at my last Alberta Library Conference as a Library Trustee to share my community perspective on the role of libraries.

Being an active member of the community has meant that I have been able to directly impact positive change around me and to gain new skills, both of which lead to my career working in the not-for-profit sector. These experiences have also inspired me to run for elected office, to continue to serve the public.

Since launching my campaign last summer, I have been busy attending over 150 events in Ward 5 to meet residents in their neighbourhoods. Every time, I am impressed and amazed at how many of these gatherings are made possible my volunteers in our community. In our ward, there are 23 neighbourhoods and 13 active community leagues. At the heart of each and every one of them are volunteers. Our community volunteers organize barbeques and parties, as well as fundraisers and sports leagues. The volunteers of Ward 5 are making a difference every day with countless hours donated to make our community safer and more welcoming, and by connecting us to our neighbours.

Earlier this month, I stopped by the Edmonton Chamber of Voluntary Organizations annual Volunteer Fair at West Edmonton Mall to kick off National Volunteer Week. It was great to see the variety of great organizations that were out promoting their programs and encouraging people to become involved. There were volunteer opportunities available for everything from animal rescue to human services to volunteering with City of Edmonton attractions! With over 55 exhibitors and 2500 visitors, it was a bustling place of engaged and eager community members.

This week for National Volunteer Week, I want to say a huge thank you to all the volunteers of Edmonton. Your donation of time and energy for our city means that Edmonton is a vibrant place to live, work, and play. Your commitment to community is evident in our infrastructure, like playgrounds and community league halls, in asset-based, neighbourhood connections made through Abundant Community, and hundreds of sports games, block parties, social events that help us enjoy our city together. I look forward to shaking your hand, giving you a high-five, and saying thank you in person the next time I see you sharing your passion for our community and giving your time!

If you are looking to make a difference in Ward 5, I am sure there would be many organizations and individuals that could benefit from your time, talent, and treasure. Consider signing up to help at your next community league event as a chance to meet more of your neighbours and have a positive impact on your community. You can also sign up to volunteer for my campaign to become your next Ward 5 Edmonton City Councillor! There are many ways to contribute your time to my campaign and join me in exploring Ward 5 and getting to know the people who live in it.

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