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05132021Thu
Last updateWed, 12 May 2021 1pm

Area schools missing contributions from volunteers

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Volunteers are important to a school community, and during COVID, their presence is sorely missed in the classroom.
Principal of Greentree School, Shelley Friesen, explains since the pandemic hit, there have been no in-class volunteers. There are, however, volunteers that have continually stepped up even under the restrictions.
“This year we are able to have some parents in. We are able to have our breakfast program, so they come in and help fill supplies and do a hot lunch a couple of times a week and deliver them to classrooms,” she said. “But they aren’t allowed in the classrooms, and that is where we are really missing them.”
She says some teachers and volunteers are still working together, sending activities and work for them to do at home, such as marking, organizing, and art prep. She says volunteers contribute to the entire school culture.
“It is a community that gets built. The culture of the school becomes more than just education,” said Friesen. “Having parents and volunteers in the school, students see and experience different adults and how the community cares about them.”
Principal of St. Anthony’s School, JoAnne Akerboom, says the school is missing the contributions of volunteers.
“We look forward to a time when our parents and community can once again be a regular part of our school day and after-school activities. Our volunteers have added significantly to our school, in terms of supporting teachers in the classroom and extra-curricular activities. Some of the things our students really miss are the coaches for sports, the jazz band after school, the craft club, making chocolates in the classroom, hotdog BBQ, pancake breakfast, etc. The list goes on and on,” said Akerboom.
She adds while volunteers are not able to be in the classrooms, there is still lots of work being done.
“We have been fortunate to have a few parents continue to volunteer through zoom, in supporting our students and school. Our parent council has continued this year with monthly meetings that include presentations on the priorities of the school, monthly updates from the Principal, Chair of Parent Council, President of the Friends of St. Anthony’s, President of Student Council, and the Chair of Parish Council,” she said. “This group has been instrumental in helping provide input into the direction of the school and inviting all parents to be actively involved.”
Curtis LaPierre, principal of Drumheller Valley Secondary School says they are missing the day-to-day presence of volunteers as well.
“In terms of external volunteers coming into the building in terms of supporting sports and that kind of stuff, they are non-existent simply because of COVID,” he said.
He said graduates were required to perform 30 hours of community service, and this has become a difficult task as many organizations are also under restrictions due to COVID.
“I have the grads doing the workbook associated with volunteerism just so they have the foundational understanding of the role it plays in the community, the province, and nation. Whatever hours they have completed since Grade 10, even if it’s 5 or 10 hours we’ll recognize it,” he said.
LaPierre says signs of volunteers remain all over the school.
When you walk through this school you can see the footprints of volunteers all over the place. When you walk into the gymnasium you can look at the bleachers, the score clock or the weight room equipment, or if you go outside to the tennis courts and the basketball courts, not to mention Kaleidoscope Theatre … Those are physical things, but behind all those physical things is time and effort and commitment.”


Carbon woman gives back to community, families in need

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Christmas can be a difficult time of year, and one local Carbon woman is giving back to her community after receiving support during a difficult time nearly a decade ago.
The Carbon Adopt-A
-Family program was created by local volunteer Mary Ellen Proctor to help support local families and individuals in need during the Christmas season, through donations and support from the local community and businesses.
“When I was a young mom struggling, about 10 years ago, my second son was extremely sick and we were in and out of hospital. It was a very tough time and we just couldn’t afford Christmas,” Proctor tells the Mail.
She says the community of Carbon rallied together to provide her and her two young children with presents and food for Christmas dinner.
“It was amazing. I couldn’t believe so many people were willing to help give my boys a Christmas. I made a promise that day that whenever I became financially stable I would pay-it-forward and I will continue to help as long

as there are families in need,” she said.
This year will mark the fifth year Proctor has organized the annual program, and she says in the previous four years the community has helped provide Christmas for seven families and approximately four individuals. While the program relies on donations from the community, Proctor is in charge of collecting and distributing donations from community members and local businesses.
“The community support has been unreal. I love to see everyone join together as we help out a family each Christmas,” she said.

New home arrives for Munson's Hamm family

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Dave and Candy Hamm could not contain their excitement on Monday afternoon, April 19, when their new home arrived on site in the Village of Munson.
The Mail reported in its January 5 edition the couple learned on Christmas Day they won a recycled home. Taber-based Wade’s House Moving, and Structural Precast, a company that does foundations, held a contest awarding a recycled home and foundation to a couple in need.
After four months of waiting they were able to see their new home rolling down the street. They were joined by their daughter and grandchildren for the moment.
“It’s going to take a week to wipe the smile off my face,” Dave told the Mail.
The couple has faced health struggles that set them back financially, and in the meantime, their home was falling into disrepair to the point it would cost more to fix than replace.
“It’s a dream come true… sometimes, the words are hard to find for everything that has gone on,” said Candy.
During the four months between learning they won the house, and it arriving, the couple was busy making arrangements. The permitting had to be applied for, the old home needed to be removed and the utilities moved, and the basement was excavated and a foundation was put in place.
Candy said they were helped along the process a great deal by Dave Wolfe of Greener Homes in Lethbridge, who stepped up to assist them on their journey. As a contractor, he understood what was needed to be completed logistically.
The home was built in 1956 and came from a Calgary neighbourhood. Wade’s made sure the house was in move-in condition for the family. Mr. Wolfe again stepped up and completed some renovations free of charge to adapt the space for the senior couple, including locating laundry facilities on the main floor.
The couple is in awe of how people helped them.
“Just when you think that all the people around you aren’t the nicest, something like this happens, and you find out exactly how many good people there are out there, and there’s a lot of them,” said Dave.
This week the home will be secured in place, but there are still a few renovations that need to be completed before they will be able to move in.


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