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Volunteer Central’s Volunteer of the Month: Mckenna Causey

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Written by Ryan Charles Parker / Photo courtesy of Mckenna Causey

This is a story about dedication. A long chronicle of helping for the sake of others. A tale of self-sacrifice. An unfinished history of giving without any care of material reward or personal recognition.

For Mckenna, charitable work began early in her life. “The first notable time I began volunteering was when I was 8. I asked my friends for money instead of presents for my 9th birthday to buy sleeping bags and food vouchers for the homeless. That year we had a really cold winter and my little brain couldn’t fathom that there were people who actually had to sleep outside in the cold and didn’t have a warm house to go home to.”

But her contribution to the less fortunate didn’t end there. 3 years ago, RBC introduced an initiative for Canada’s 150th birthday wherein they provided $150 to people with an eye to using it for charity, in whatever method they chose. Mckenna was one of the recipients. And she made that money count. As Gloria Dersken, Executive Director for Central Alberta Victim & Witness Support and Mckenna’s nominator told me, “She challenged others in the community to do-nate $150 and due to her efforts raised over $12,000 which was donated to the Red Deer Health Foundation to purchase a much needed Billi Soft LED Photother-apy set for NICU.”

Raising that much money from just $150 takes a sustained effort and a good deal of dedication and goodwill. But that is just the type of person Mckenna is: always looking for a way to help.

Mckenna has been a volunteer with Gloria at Alberta Victim & Witness Support since February of 2018 and explains her role in the organization, “The main thing I do as an advocate is go out to call outs. The majority are (next of kin) notifications or suicides, and occasionally car accidents. I also go into the office and call victims of crime and tragedy…to see how they are doing. While I’m in the office I make care packages that we give out to victims with information on future supports, symptoms of grieving, the role of the medical examiner, etc. This sup-port is more being there for someone to talk to and making sure they aren’t alone during a difficult time, compared to raising money for a cause.”

This is not easy work. Needless to say, much of it is grim. It takes a big heart to be able to do such labour and not be negatively affected by it during day-to-day life. But Mckenna walks this tightrope with ease. As Gloria said, “…she has pursued this volunteer role with relentless perse-verance. She responds to crisis calls, attends training, meetings, and vari-ous events on behalf of VSU, all done with her same cheerful attitude.”

With that much on her plate, she informed me of an initiative she is now taking part of. ” Recently, I’ve been raising money to create care packages for children in the Oncology Unit at the Alberta Children’s Hos-pital. Two of my friends and I made it possible for people to “sponsor a box”. It was $50 to sponsor a box, and you could pick the age group you’d like the box to go to. We have since raised enough for 50 boxes/packages filled with things from books to puzzles to board games to toothbrushes to blankets and socks. We also had many wonderful people make hand-made items to donate to the boxes and some classrooms have decorated the boxes!” The only task that remains for this project is to fill the pack-ages with the goods that have been so graciously donated.

Oh, and she is attending college and works part-time.

Needless to say, Mckenna is overwhelmingly deserving of the award of Volunteer of the Month from Volunteer Central.

Keep up the good work. The world is a better place for having you in it.

 

If you know a volunteer, nominate them for Volunteer Central’s Volunteer of the Month here: https://bit.ly/30E38qd

Volunteer Central strives to build a strong, connected and engaged community through volunteerism.

Community

Downtown Business Spotlight: Sunworks Living features high-quality products and expert customer service

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For this week’s Business Spotlight, we popped into Sunworks Living, located at #110, 4913 Gaetz Ave in the heart of Downtown Red Deer. Visitors to this unique shop are treated to a shopping experience like no other in Red Deer. The selection of high-quality products and expert customer service allow Sunworks to stand out, and why people keep coming back. We sat down with Kathryn Harris of Sunworks to learn more about this exceptional downtown business.

What is your business?

We are Sunworks Living, quality gifts and local art gallery, we offer a unique shopping experience.

When did your business open?

The business opened May 10th, 1996.

What makes your business unique?

Our focus is on local products, so we try and bring in unique, local but very curated pieces. Some of our works in the store are from a few neighborhoods away, others are from as far away as Quebec. We try to stay as Canadian as we can. We do have an emphasis on staying environmentally friendly so some of our products do come from away, but they are a little more sustainable.

What are some products/services that you offer?

Local is one of the key things for the business. We showcase local art, we build special order pieces with local materials based on customer-specific requests, we are very particular as to what we bring into the store, it must be of a certain quality, not found anywhere else. In-store, we carry housewares, handmade natural soy candles, greeting cards, books, kitchenware, a little bit of everything.

Why did you choose Downtown Red Deer as the location for your business?

When Paul and Terry started Sunworks, Downtown Red Deer was a desolate wasteland. Paul grew up in Calgary and it was very important to him that the downtown be the beating heart of the city. At the time you could virtually hear the slamming of the wooden outhouse door and tumbleweed rolling across the street, but downtown is where they always wanted to put their business. I’ve heard Paul say to Terry,’ we need to do something about the downtown or we need to move’ so, they felt compelled to get involved and felt a call for change. The community has always been very important.

What do you think makes Downtown vibrant?

The people that work here. I can stand outside in front of the store in the sun on a Tuesday afternoon and can greet people as they walk by. I will see businesses across the street, and we give each other ‘the nod’ in greeting. You must acknowledge the people that are here. 

Finish this sentence: I love Downtown Red Deer because…

It’s where I work, where I play and it’s close to home. It’s close to pretty much all homes in Red Deer because it’s the heart of the city. You must go through the downtown to get anywhere anyway so why wouldn’t you stop?

The charm and relaxed atmosphere of this quaint shop make it a pleasure to be in. The perfect gift is easily found with the help of the friendly and highly knowledgeable staff, as the possibilities are endless. Give yourself time to browse, there is a lot to discover!

 

Make sure to follow Sunworks Living:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pg/sunworks

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunworks/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Sunworksreddeer

 

LV’s Vinyl Cafe – DBA Business Spotlight

Alberta Art & Drafting Supplies – DBA Business Spotlight

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Central Alberta

Red Deer Woman to be honoured for helping other women through her photographraphy

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From the Central Alberta Soroptimist Club

Central Alberta Soroptimist Celebrate International Women’s Day

Soroptimist International of Central Alberta is please to host their International Women’s Day Garden Party on Sunday, March 8 from 2 to 5 pm at the Penhold Memorial Hall in Penhold.  Tickets are $25.00 each and available on Eventbrite.  Our guest speaker will be Councillor Teresa Rilling from the Town of Sylvan Lake.

sylvan lake town councillor

Soroptimist International is a women’s organization that goes to great lengths to promote concerns, challenges and achievements of women everywhere. With the multiple award programs of the organization, deserving women and girls in the community are recognized and honoured.

“We are very pleased this year to present Ashley Jackson with our “Ruby Award: Women helping Women”, said Sherri Smith, of Soroptimist International.  Ashley Jackson Boudoir is a Red Deer portrait studio that focuses on female empowerment.  This award honours a woman that has worked to improve the lives of women and girls through their professional and volunteer work, and Ashley says that sums up her life’s goal in one magical sentence!

The club will also present the first “Live Your Dream Award” to Adra Mckenzie, a single mom of two boys from Lacombe.  She is enrolled at Burman University taking her Bachelors BioMedical Sciences with the intention of one day becoming a pharmacist.  The second “Live Your Dream Award” will be presented to Cheralee von Gunten, a single mom of four from Red Deer.  She is currently enrolled at Athabasca University taking her Bachelor of Arts in English and Bachelor of Arts in Women’s and Gender Studies.  She intents to pursue a career in writing, or in a field that contributes to addressing women’s issues.  The third “Live Your Dream Award” will be presented to Lindsey Steeves, a single mom of two from Eckville.  She is currently enrolled at Grant MacEwan University completing a Correctional Services Diploma.  Her goal is to obtain a career that will allow her to support her children and pursue a career within the Correctional System of Canada.

The Violet Richardson Award (for young girl volunteers) will be presented to Santera Ogles of Blackfalds, a Grade 10 student at Ecole Secondary Lacombe Composite High School.  Her volunteer effort include the Red Deer Regional Hospital, JS McCormisk School and fundraising projects for Safe Harbour.

For more information about the International Women’s Day Garden Party or Soroptimist International, call Sherri Smith at 403-391-7912 (cell) or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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february, 2020

sun12jan(jan 12)2:00 pmsun22mar(mar 22)5:00 pmAnne Frank: A History for Today opening at Red Deer MAG(january 12) 2:00 pm - (march 22) 5:00 pm mst Red Deer Museum & Art Gallery Address: 4525 - 47A Avenue, Red Deer

sun02feb(feb 2)7:00 pmsun15mar(mar 15)8:00 pm7:00 pm - (march 15) 8:00 pm Festival Hall, 4214 58 St, Red Deer, AB Event Organized By: Country Pride Dance Club

tue25feb5:30 pm7:30 pmDiabetes Discussion Drop InLearn about Type 2 diabetes5:30 pm - 7:30 pm

wed26feb7:30 pm11:00 pmCeltic Illusiion7:30 pm - 11:00 pm

thu27feb5:30 pm7:00 pmMonthly Mindfulness Drop-In5:30 pm - 7:00 pm

fri28febsun01mar54th Annual Sport & Outdoor Show4:00 pm - (march 1) 9:00 pm

fri28feb6:00 pm11:00 pmFriday Family DanceFamily Dance6:00 pm - 11:00 pm

fri28feb7:00 pm11:00 pmBattle of the Bands for Crime Prevention7:00 pm - 11:00 pm Burgundy's Food & Stage, 5008 48 ST Event Organized By: The Central Alberta Crime Prevention Centre

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