Around Alberta: Hinton

It is our pleasure to share our conversation with Lisa Brett, the Community  Connections Coordinator at Family and Community Support Services (FCSS) in Hinton, Alberta:


FCSS offers preventative programs and services that enhance social well-being at the earliest opportunity.  Hinton FCSS was established nearly 40 years ago with the Hinton Volunteer Centre component being established in 1995. FCSS is about social prosperity, building resilience together and becoming  more resistant to crises. Prevention can accomplish so much! Yet, this strategy often goes unrecognized  because it averts crisis before it happens. Way back, Hinton’s leadership understood that resilient people  result in a strong community. Today, the Hinton Town Council still supports FCSS and its principles of self-help,  capacity building, citizen participation, and volunteerism. 


A big challenge Hinton FCSS faced was to fill the gaps in service that emerged during the pandemic. So many entities closed  their doors. We did not close the doors. If we didn’t have answers, we tried to find them for people. Also, it was hard to watch people who wanted to help others during the pandemic, but it was not encouraged to be around others for safety reasons. The public health measures and fear kept people apart. Since then, we have fully recognized how important social connection and community support is to our citizens’ well being.  


Hinton FCSS chose to install a bench in 2022, dedicated to those who volunteer in our town (past, present, or future). It is tricky to find a way to acknowledge a volunteer’s contributions, so we felt that a public bench is a passive way to say thank you for what you do to make Hinton a great place to live, work, and play. It is a small gesture with big sentiments of appreciation. 


Empathy in action means doing what you can to help, rather than simply discussing the situation and  feeling badly about it. It means getting up out of your chair to make a difference. You see a problem and  you apply a solution to it – small or big – whatever you do, it matters! 


Hinton has many, many silent volunteers who do so much without seeking public recognition for it. Many  volunteers are very humble. They are a big part of Hinton’s evolution and its reason for being. Volunteers  certainly add to Hinton’s quality of life. Without their contributions, it is much slower to make things  happen. Alongside the public and private sectors, volunteers offer a lot of ideas, manual labor, time, and money to help the community remain as it is today – a fun, interesting, caring, and satisfying place to live or visit. 

Hinton FCSS recognizes the positive impact volunteers have in the social fabric of the town. It is our hope  to continue sharing more stories on how organizations and local volunteers come together to uplift the community! 

Art St Hilaire (She /They)  

Sociology Student and Social Media manager 

Art has worked and volunteered in the nonprofit sector for several years and is finishing their  undergrad in Sociology and Gender studies. She is a self-taught graphic designer and social  media manager. They worked on the marketing and communications team for Volunteer Alberta  in the summer of 2022 as a Canada Summer Jobs intern where they started this blog series to  highlight all the events for National Volunteer Week.