Barons-Eureka-Warner FCSS is a preventative human services-based organization that supports people throughout their entire life course, from infants to seniors. Like many rural FCSS’s, they serve multiple communities but their service area includes a stupendous 16 municipalities spread throughout the the Municipal District of Taber, Lethbridge County, and the County Warner.
To celebrate National Volunteer Week, Barons-Eureka-Warner FCSS holds various events to show appreciation to their volunteers. They had to adjust due to the pandemic, but in 2021 they were creative in asking local organizations, businesses, and municipalities to nominate their star volunteers, and then delivered packages of appreciation to their homes. Last year, in 2022, they held small, in-person events with individually packaged snacks and seed starter kits for their volunteers.
When asked about their thoughts about their recent celebrations, Kaitlynn Weaver (Outreach Services Supervisor) had this to say:
“We want to keep expanding our National Volunteer week celebrations in the future because it is an important part of our community and organizations like ours are a backbone for a lot of these rural communities. There are not a ton of organizations within the smaller communities, so we try to give people the opportunity to collaborate with us and piggyback on our events. It is easier to manage and coordinate when it is a consolidated effort.
I really appreciate everyone’s willingness to acknowledge volunteers. There is an eagerness among organizations, municipalities, and businesses to celebrate the work of volunteers. We had over 300 volunteers recognized through our nomination form in our region and a lot of them were emergency services staff who have nominated their volunteers. Not a lot of people know this, but in most rural communities, firefighters are volunteers, so people are putting their lives on the line and as well as their own mental health to go to emergencies of someone they know or are close to. We saw such a wide variety of volunteers to have them all come together and to celebrate each other because little or big thing, anything is appreciated. Picking up garbage at your local high school is just as important to celebrate as going on calls as firefighters.”
For Barons-Eureka-Warner FCSS, empathy in action means supporting one another through tough times and taking action to keep people safe and sane during the pandemic. The organization values the contributions of its volunteers and the way that the community comes together to support one another.
National Volunteer Week is an important reminder of the valuable contributions that volunteers make to our communities, and it is an opportunity to show appreciation for their efforts. It is celebrated in different ways by organizations and communities across Alberta, but as we continue to have these conversations with organizations we see that the message of gratitude and recognition is consistent.
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.