“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” ~ Mahatma Gandhi
It is exciting to see the many new cultural groups and organizations that have sprouted up as a result of our area’s tremendous growth. This increases the level of connections, and strengthens bonds to one another. People are taking the lead in looking for ways to create activities that bring friends, families and strangers together for a common purpose.
Recently, while reflecting on the many community impact grants we have disbursed throughout the region over the past few years, I recognized that most of the projects did, indeed, help to connect people with people. The Soupier Seniors Soup Kitchen in Spirit River is a great inspiration of connecting. This community driven project involving teamwork and community building to help support those in need. Volunteers aged 65-95 gather to work together to create healthy meals to distribute to those in need in the Spirit River Area. In addition the program connects the younger generation with seniors to learn about making home cooked traditional meals, within a community hub that connects generations.
This is an inspiring example of when people feel like they belong and are connected, they lose themselves in service to community.
Community Foundations are uniquely positioned to help you learn about your community and to make sure your giving has the most impact. We know the issues in our community, and the organizations working to improve them.
Please feel free to contact me at 780-538-2820 to discuss how you can partner with the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta and how you can impact and inspire others.
Connect people. Build community. For good, and forever.
Tracey Vavrek, CEO
Boys’ Club Brings Trust to Challenged Youth
There was a young participant to the John Howard Society Boys’ Club who had challenges around appropriate social interactions. He often acted out, blurting out random ideas during the group sessions. Each week the team called his home and left a message to let him know that they hoped that he would be there for the next session. The following weeks, he would slip in quietly, just in time for group to start. Eventually, he grew to become the last one to leave the sessions so that he could have extra one on one time with the facilitators.
Together, the John Howard Society team was able to build a trusting relationship where this 15 year old began to slowly open up about life at home -growing up in a family with addictions issues, feeling disconnected from his father, and sometimes feeling like an outcast in society. The opportunity to attend the Boys’ Club has given this young man a leg up – a place to feel safe and connected.
With permission, we have shared this success story with you. This real life story is yet another example of how the Community Foundation strives to connect people for good and forever.
We are honoured to partner and provide funding from the collection of Community Impact endowment funds to the John Howard Society in helping youth at risk to learn how to increase their own resiliency and how to consider ways of making good choices that will lead to healthier relationships and a healthier sense of self.
Investing in Education
Richard Wong, 2016 student award recipient of the Storm “Stay In School” Junior “A” Hockey Scholarship Fund.
Richard Wong is completing his final year at Thompson Rivers University, Faculty of Law in Kamloops, British Columbia. Becoming a lawyer was a dream that became a goal – which will become a reality when he admitted to the Alberta Bar.
After graduating from St. Joseph’s Catholic High School in 2005, he played three years of hockey for the Grande Prairie Junior ‘A’ Storm. Over this period, it was extremely important for him to balance his daily hockey commitments with his educational requirements at the Grande Prairie Regional College.
Richard’s journey to become a lawyer has been shaped through his unique education, employment and extra-curricular experiences. Through his experiences, he has learned that practicing law can be compared to the process of maturing throughout life. This comparison involves a continuous process of learning where mastering a particular area or skill is never fully accomplished. Richard learned that self-enhancement through education and establishing strong relationships with colleagues and the community can lead to improved practices, to better serve the evolving needs of clients, society, and those in need.
“Thank you. These funds have helped me relieve some of the economic burdens towards realizing my goals. This support allow me to focus on my studies without having to work two jobs, while a full-time student. Now, during the current exam season, and going into my final semester – I will be comfortable in knowing that I will be able to use my saved funds to go towards my rent and putting food on the table. I will not have to stress out about saving money by buying affordable fast food, and will be able to buy non-processed foods to ensure my health keeps up with my mental and emotional stress due to school. I am truly grateful for the award and appreciate everything the Community Foundation of Northwestern Alberta has done for me.”
Giving back, because it is the right thing to do
Stan and Helen Neufeld have both had the good fortune of growing up in very supportive communities. Growing up on opposite ends of the country, they both reaped the benefits of the time sacrificed by countless volunteer coaches, church and youth group leaders, and community service groups.
“As a family that has enjoyed the benefits of spending most of our working lives in Grande Prairie, we both feel that it is our turn to give back for the betterment of the community where we live. We both share a passion for the education of young people and for the environment that sustains both them and us, and so does our fund with the Community Foundation. We do this because, for us, it is simply the right thing to do.” Says Stan and Helen on why they established their family legacy fund, the Stan And Helen Neufeld Environmental Fund in 2007.
Stan and Helen choose to build their legacy fund at the Community Foundation as they wish to create a lasting legacy with the creation of an endowment fund. Grants from their fund will impact today’s generation and into the future, forever.
Annual GENERAL Meeting
The Community Foundation`s Annual General Meeting will take place on April 19, 2016 at the 2nd floor boardroom of the Eastlink Centre at 4 pm. In addition to the formalities of our annual general meeting, this is an opportunity to socialize with the Board of Directors, staff, and learn more about your Community Foundation’s impact.
Please RSVP to Tracy Zuk at (780) 538-2820 or email.
Thank you to our donors, fund holders, supporters and friends for the continued support and dedication. You are amongst a group of caring citizens who are building community for future generations.