Jana Giger is the Volunteer Administrator and part of the Community Wellness team for the Town of Okotoks. The team’s mission is to connect the community through volunteerism, and they work with 18 different organizations to keep the community vibrant and connected.
One of the key events they coordinated in 2022 was the National Volunteer Week, which they start planning for in January – February. Although they did not host any in-person events in the year 2022, they chose to celebrate the volunteers in their community by sharing personal stories through the town’s website, social media, and radio. The stories highlighted the community’s diverse volunteers and their contributions. Another celebration included partnering with McDonald’s to offer free hot beverages and cookies to volunteers through a drive-through event, which was funded 100% by the restaurant.
The town also displayed a banner in the recreation center and on message boards with the slogan “We love our volunteers.” They encouraged individual agencies to celebrate their volunteers in their own ways. For example, Mission Thrift Store rented out a movie theater for their volunteers
The town has also hosted an annual Volunteer Leadership Awards night to recognize the volunteers in the community, including the Heart of Okotoks Award. While it has been on hold for the last few years there is a plan to bring back the event soon. In the meantime, they continue to promote volunteerism through their programs, such as the Adopt a Sidewalk program, Volunteer Driver program, and Community Volunteer Income Tax program.
They have often promoted Volunteer Connector to people looking to volunteer, which is a testament to how keen community members are to give back. Overall, Jana and her team’s goal is to keep everyone connected, acknowledging that volunteers are the heart of 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.