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FCSS recognizing volunteers

Posted on February 26, 2024 by admin

By Garrett Simmons
Family and Community Support Services 

In many ways, volunteers make the world go round.

They are integral to organizations throughout southern Alberta, who rely on people getting involved and sharing their talents on a daily basis.

More often than not, volunteers get involved simply to make a difference in their communities. But every once in a while, it’s nice to be recognized for your efforts.

Family and Community Support Services has a new initiative designed to honour those who have made significant positive impacts in their communities.

Cheers to Volunteers 2024 is an opportunity for community members to nominate volunteers to win one of three Outstanding Volunteer Awards.

“This year, we are starting a new initiative,” said Cindy Lauwen, Volunteer Services Coordinator for FCSS. “It will be region wide, including all 16 municipalities in the FCSS region – excluding the City of Lethbridge. We are asking people to nominate an individual, a group or a youth who is an outstanding volunteer in one of these communities.”

Nomination packages are available online or can be picked up in person at FCSS offices in Lethbridge County, the M.D. of Taber or the County of Warner.

Nominations will be gathered, an external judging committee will analyze the submissions, and once three winners are selected, they’ll be honoured during National Volunteer Week.

Just how those celebrations will look, will be up to the winners.

“We’ll reach out to the winners and ask them what they want to see happen,” said Kaitlynn Weaver, Outreach Services Supervisor for FCSS. “The celebration will be customized for them so that is it meaningful for the volunteer.”

That is just one of the creative aspects of Cheers to Volunteers 2024, an initiative Weavers hopes will encourage locals to give back to their communities.

“We want to inspire volunteers and we’re hoping that having something official in place will get people more excited about volunteering,” said Weaver. “It’s something that people can put on their resumes or for scholarship applications for youth. We want people to have a sense of accomplishment and achievement.”

Speaking of youth, Jillian Boyd, Youth Development Coordinator for FCSS, added young people have an important role to play in terms of giving back to their community through volunteerism.

“I work with high school students and I think it’s integral for youth to have a presence in the community and to help their communities out,” she said. “Volunteering is a way for them to set an example, demonstrate to the community the youth’s value. and it brings the community together. When youth are given a challenge or given something important to do, they often rise to that challenge, and it’s very rewarding for them.”

Trinity Walker, Youth Development Coordinator for FCSS, who organizes the DO Crew JR group in Nobleford, added young people have played crucial roles in a number of FCSS events in that community.

“With some of the past events we have put on like our family nights and Little Santas, they were a big help, and without them these events probably wouldn’t have happened,” she said. “Their ideas and their drive to get it done really helped these events be successful.”

Walker added volunteering allows young people to showcase their creativity, gives them a chance to try something new and learn a variety of new skills.

To nominate a volunteer, visit http://www.fcss.ca, stop by your local FCSS building for a nomination package, or contact Lauwen at cindy.lauwen@fcss.ca or 403-915-7063.

March 18 is the deadline to nominate an individual, youth or group.

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