In the following months, Yellowhead County FCSS will be sharing some local stories and topics for thought on volunteerism. We invite you to offer your feedback and thoughts as we share these stories on our Facebook page, @YellowheadCounty and @YellowheadCountyFCSS. We want to know: Why do you volunteer?
We all know people who volunteer. Some do it for the love of the cause, some do it out of obligation to their community, some people volunteer because it’s what they saw their parents doing, and it’s now part of their own tradition. Whatever the reason, we see value in the many different ways in which we volunteer.
Yellowhead County knows that the various volunteer groups are a significant reason why our communities are great places to live. Over the next year, we’ll be profiling some local non-profit groups and highlighting the volunteers that make them so special.
People volunteer for a variety of reasons—but one of the main reasons is that there is a personal tie to the cause. There are many people that are involved with groups that their own families were involved with when they were children. The preschool in Peers is a perfect example of that.
A Community-Run Preschool
The Peers preschool has been in operation since 1983, established by a group of parents that wanted to provide their younger children with social and developmental opportunities prior to entering kindergarten. Since that time, the Peers Preschool Society has changed board members and clients many times. Currently, the preschool has its highest level of enrollment in years; with 22 children in attendance.
The board has five executives and five directors. The current president of the non-profit society is Adele Hamilton, a parent who has now had two children attend the preschool. She served as vice-president in her first year with the society, and now as president for the past two years.
Adele notes that the challenge with preschools is that parents are often only engaged as volunteers for a couple years, as their kids age out of preschool and move on to school and extracurricular activities. Indeed, turnover is a natural part of the volunteering process and brings new ideas to the table.
But new volunteers shouldn’t be expected to reinvent the wheel. That’s why Adele has taken it upon herself to provide volunteers and board members with easily accessible information and processes that make it simpler for the next group of parents to be involved with the preschool.
What to Expect
What duties could one expect in such a volunteer position? Adele and the board are responsible for all aspects of running the preschool, including licensing, financial and human resource management, fundraising, special activities and, for the past year, ensuring that the preschool is following all COVID-19 related public health orders.
The Preschool has always reached out to the community, and as such, has consistently received donations and support. This has been integral to the longevity and success of the program, and, despite the challenges of the past year, remains a priority for the society.
Adele herself first began volunteering as a teenager, coaching Rhythmic Gymnastics for the Special Olympics. Having that personal connection made the commitment enjoyable. Adele stresses that, despite the work related to the preschool, it truly is a labour of love, and one where it “feels like a family.” This fits in with Adele’s advice to people interested in getting involved and volunteering, which is, “Find a spot where you want to give to your community!”
If you are interested in learning about or connecting with volunteer opportunities in the community, please contact Yellowhead County’s Wildwood office and we will be happy to work with you.
If you are a group seeking volunteers and are looking for ways to enhance volunteering with your organization we encourage you to call us at 1-800-814-3935.