How long have you volunteered with CMHA Kelowna?
I have enjoyed volunteering with CMHA in Kelowna since 2015. I am the current Chair of CMHA Kelowna Board of Directors. The Board of Directors is the governing body of CMHA Kelowna. We meet periodically to oversee the organization’s activities, and to discuss and vote on the affairs of the organization. The board of directors operates like an airline pilot at an altitude of 30,000 feet; overseeing everything, seeing the big picture, and changing the course when necessary. My role as the board chair is to facilitate board meetings and keep board work focused on CMHA Kelowna’s mission, vision, and strategic direction.
What motivated you to volunteer at CMHA?
A few years ago, CMHA did a presentation at my workplace on how to support employees’ mental health. This presentation was so inspiring to me, I decided to do my part and joined the CMHA team. My original motivation for volunteering at CMHA was, like many others, to help demystify the stigma of mental illnesses. Since mental illnesses are common in most communities, I believed (and still do) we didn’t talk enough about it. I could have volunteered with other organizations but CMHA was already making a great impact in the community and I wanted to be part of this amazing team.
Now that I have been volunteering on the board of directors for a few years, I realize my initial motivation has grown, and that, because I can see a direct correlation between the decisions made at the board level and the positive impact it has on the community I proudly live in; Foundry being a prime example. This would have never happened without a devoted and talented team of managers, employees and volunteers at CMHA Kelowna.
What makes this volunteer experience a meaningful use of your time?
My biggest personal benefit is, by far, the connections I have built with members of the organization. From mentors, leaders and friends, everyone has their stories, which are reflected in the way they interact and give to others. I have met heroes, whom have climbed mountains. I have met volunteers with hearts bigger than we can ever imagine. I have also met staff that don’t count their hours because they truly believe in the cause they are deeply involved in. Without knowing the impact they have had on me, these individuals have made me a better person.