If I have a care in the world, I have a gift to bring. – Indigo Girls, Hammer and Nail
I love volunteering and volunteers. Always have. My parents volunteered – even my dad, in a wheelchair.
If an organization needed “door prizes,” well they’d ask my (late) dad. My (late) brother and I often accompanied my dad to the local shopping mall to get these prizes. As my dad often asked, “who is going to say no to a guy in a wheelchair with two kids?” Indeed.
My mother is a volunteer gorilla. She is more than 80 years old and still volunteers regularly and for everyone. She never cared about whose cause was doing what – if someone needed something, they’d call June. She’d always figure it out.
My first memory of volunteering was at Patricia Park in Montreal. With my mother, behind a table, we sold hot dogs and cotton candy, drinks. I was not more than 10 years old and I loved it. The shushing of the pop machine spitting out cool cola (and cream soda!) was especially satisfying. I got to do all kinds of new things and, people treated me…well, not like a kid, but as someone who mattered. They thanked me. I volunteered with my mom many more times, each outing an important memory.
As a youth and young adult I volunteered for local sports leagues, founded a women’s softball league, volunteered for Girl Guides, and one year was a Scout leader. I volunteered on a farm in Israel for eight months in 1985-6 – at Moshav Zofar.
Living in Morin Heights, Quebec, I volunteered in the local Legion kitchen during events. For a community newspaper called Perspective Morin Heights, I wrote about volunteers past and present, and developed a nonprofit services directory. The first version published in November 1994 can only be called “fontastic” and I blame it on the wine. Here is a sampling.
Moving to Nova Scotia in 1995, I volunteered for a Home and School Association (5 years) and chaired three spring fairs at my kids’ elementary school. With a small team of volunteer interviewers, I designed and conducted (1) a survey of 80 parents (by phone) and, (2) a smaller survey of teachers, all to inform a Site Based Planning team. Around the same time I volunteered for two one-year terms on the Nova Scotia Hospital Ethics Education Committee as a community member, and for another community group designed and produced a monthly newsletter. A favourite volunteer gig was as a badge tester for Brownies and Guides.
I will always volunteer. Recent volunteer work includes websites and content writing, writing, editing and/or researching, and graphics for non-for-profit organizations including The Samara Centre for Democracy, East Coast Environmental Law Association, Zooniverse, Square Roots Sackville and Rocky Hollow Ranch, NS. On a monthly basis I get to volunteer with my sweetheart Rick at the Pop-Up specialty markets to support non-profits in Beaver Bank, Nova Scotia.
I earned a BA in Sociology from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec, in 1992, completed the Honour’s Program and graduated with distinction. Research project: A measure of androcentrism in Canadian university undergraduate, social theory courses: A study of syllabi and mail-back surveys from respective professors. I think it would be fun to do a follow-up. No stamps required.
I like to say I earned a PhD in parenthood during the 1990s and 2000s. My daughters, now adults, have taught me more about life, love and myself, than ever expected or deserved. I’m grateful for them everyday.
A few courses were added to my CV over the years, for example in health & safety, first aid and medical ethics. Please visit my LinkedIn page to take a look.
I live happily ever after in Beaver Bank, Nova Scotia, with my sweetie and beacon, Richard (Rick) Carruthers, and our cat, Murdoch.
UPDATED November 2020 (c) Sheryl Dubois
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