Happy New Year from everyone at Langley Pos-Abilities!
Are you as happy to have 2020 over with as we are? Let’s make 2021 the best year yet!
Looking forward into the next year, we would like to remind everyone to renew their membership.
2021 Innovative Initiative Award
Some exciting news is that we have been nominated for a Fraser Valley Cultural Diversity Award again! The category that we have been nominated for is the Innovative Initiative Award. These awards are to celebrate those who are using the best practices for recognizing the diversity of our community.
Colleen Loewen in a Snapshot
A patient, easy going person who is a great listener. Colleen is a mother. She is now Treasurer and board member. She first started volunteering for her church by helping with events. Colleen casually started volunteering with Langley Pos-Abilities after helping out with a barbeque. Now, years later, she is realizing the full positive impact that volunteering with Langley Pos-Abilities has had on her life. Looking forward, she is using the experience she has gained at Langley Pos-Abilities to add to her resume and obtain a job helping others.
The Bigger Picture:
Colleen has been with Langley Pos-Abilities Society since 2010 when she became a volunteer. Colleen casually become a volunteer when she was asked by Zosia to help put together the barbeque food for the Day of Possibilities. Since Colleen had worked for years as a volunteer at her church helping to prep food and set up tables for events, the request was easily done and fulfilled. Next, she was asked to accompany a board member to pick up a Personal Assistance Device from a client. These small requests only happened about a dozen times a year but as she slowly came to know the other volunteers and board members better, she found more ways to volunteer. It wasn’t until April 2018 though that she became a board member and treasurer. Since then, she has gained experience with bookkeeping in the Xero Accounting Program and using Microsoft Office 365. When she talks about volunteering though, it’s not the practical experience that she highlights. It’s the people that she has met and the friends she has made that really stands out for her. She can look back and remember all of the people she has helped.
When working as part of the TOAD program, she has seen people gain understanding and empathy for people with disabilities. She has even felt the transformation herself. About the PAD Program, she says: “Being involved in collecting and delivering Personal Assistive Devices (PAD) from people in our communities can be very eye opening and heart warming. There have been some great stories collected from meeting people when we give them a Personal Assistive Device that will help them attain their freedom and mobility back. Some people have been stuck at home because they couldn’t afford to get what they needed to help themselves. With our PAD program at LPAS, people are able to donate items they no longer need, and then we give it back to the community to someone who is in need of that item.” For her, that is the part that has made volunteering worthwhile.
She is proud to be part of a great board that works hard. Together they laugh, brainstorm and make exciting things happen such as expanding programs, reaching a larger audience and doing good in the community. With everyone sitting on the board coming from different walks of life and experiences, it has allowed them to each make their own unique contribution. Colleen has managed to volunteer, be a board member and raise a family, firmly believing that by doing so she is setting a good example for her children. They have even helped her out at events. The time commitment as a volunteer, board member and treasurer has been reasonable. The zoom meetings are twice a month and she spends 10-20 hours a month doing bookkeeping. She manages her volunteer hours by choosing which events she wants to help out with.
Now that her children are older, Colleen is looking for a part-time job. She knows it will be in an industry that allows her to still help people. As she creates her resume, she is finding that it mainly consists of experience from LPAS. Here are the thoughts that she wants to pass onto other people who are thinking of becoming volunteers: “The bigger the board is and the more volunteers we have, the less work each individual has to do. We have been working hard with Langley Volunteers this last year to try and get some more volunteers to help out. We need them, even during this Covid-19 pandemic. There are things people can help with, even from home. All our meetings for the last year have been on Zoom, so we are doing our best to stay safe during these times.” As for the future, Colleen is looking forward to learning new things and growing with the society.
Were you inspired by the above story? That’s great! We are looking for volunteers and people who want to be board members! You can use the experience gained here to strengthen your resume and create personal relationships with like minded people. We are keeping safe by using Zoom to have board meetings, talk and brainstorm as volunteers. There is a lot to do so don’t wait!