By Carol Steen, Lethbridge Gala Dinner Emcee
Since 2005, Wood’s Homes has hosted a Lethbridge Gala Dinner in the spring of each year. The event is theme-based (think Cinderella, Peter Pan, Pinocchio, etc.) with decorations hung from wall-to-wall, coupled with great food and live entertainment. It’s an event people look forward to every year.
The event’s guest speakers are typically previous clients of Wood’s Homes and are always a highlight of the evening. The generosity of the business community, countless volunteer hours, amazing committee members and leadership from Wood’s, make this the Gala of the year! And, for 10 of the past 12 years, I’ve had the honour of hosting the evening as the event’s emcee. It has been an exciting and rewarding ride!
Sometimes people ask me why I volunteer with Wood’s Homes. It always makes me pause and think for a minute before I respond.
Sometimes I say, “Because I want to give back to the community.” As a retired educator and high school principal, I’ve spent 34+ years working with adolescents and their families. In these roles, I was responsible for helping kids find the path to success through their high school years; however, some of those young people encountered challenges along their journey. Wood’s Homes was helpful for many of those young people, and I am grateful for the support they provided and continue to provide. By volunteering, I can say thank you by donating my time.
Sometimes I say, “Because I want to make a difference.” As a parent and grandparent, I want the community to be a safe and caring environment for my children, grandchildren and all other children. Each child and family takes a unique journey through life and, as expected in any journey, can experience some ‘roadblocks’ – some bigger than they can surmount on their own. Wood’s is a place where youth and families can discover ways to manage these obstacles, while finding safety and support. When I volunteer with Wood’s, I know I’m contributing towards positive change in my community.
Sometimes I say, “Because it’s the right thing to do!” Every healthy community member should find a little time each month to contribute to those who are less fortunate. It takes a village and it’s the right thing to do!
Sometimes I say, “Because I can!” Although there were bumps in the road when I was growing up, I always had an adult nearby to encourage me and support my journey. Now I am in a position to be there for others.
And so I say THANK YOU WOOD’S HOMES! For being there, for supporting youth and families, for making a difference in the community, for providing a safe haven for families who need help, and for inviting me to be a part of this journey!
It feels good to volunteer!