fbpx
-2.2 C
Elmira
Friday, December 6, 2019
Connecting Our Communities

A volunteer with seniority

TRENDING

Restored Victorian home in Elmira the subject of TV competition

Along with the influx of visitors that comes with the holiday season, Elmira will see one new...

New MP jumps to the next stage

Ever since he was elected as the new Liberal Member of Parliament for Kitchener-Conestoga during the October...

Meet the candidates

By Veronica Reiner & Aneta Rebiszewski Five candidates are vying for your vote in...

Historical Society Annual General Meeting

The 42nd Annual General Meeting of the Historical Society of St. Boniface and Maryhill Community was held...

THIS WEEK

Elmira
broken clouds
-2.2 ° C
0 °
-4.4 °
95 %
5.1kmh
75 %
Sat
-3 °
Sun
1 °
Mon
4 °
Tue
7 °
Wed
-2 °

Elmira is a town quite literally built on volunteers. From the annual maple syrup festival to the Kate’s Kause playground currently under construction in Gibson Park, residents and passersby are reminded of this fact on a nearly daily basis. Next week one of Elmira’s longest-serving volunteers, Alma Alder, will be recognized at the Waterloo Regional council meeting, where she will be named as the Ontario Senior Volunteer of the Year for the region.

It would be an understatement to say the 75-year-old Elmira resident was humbled by the award.

“It feels amazing,” she said while seated in the local history section of the Elmira library, the place where she has volunteered for nearly 20 years.

“I was very surprised, and it’s really nice to be with these people and that they think I help them.”

Alma Alder has been named Ontario Senior Volunteer of the Year for the Waterloo Region for her work at the Elmira Library, where she’s been helping out for more than 20 years. [james jackson / the observer]
Alder volunteers one day a week at the library, where she is a Jill of all trades: she re-shelves and organizes books, helps categorize and sort books, signs books out, tapes the edges, and accepts deliveries from other libraries in the region.

And the library has certainly come a long way in the past two decades.

“We didn’t have the computer,” she said of when she started. “All the books had little cards and they all had to be filed alphabetically and you had to write everything in when people took books out, and now it’s all done on the computer.”

Started in 1994, the Ontario Ministry of Citizenship established the award that allows each municipality to recognize one outstanding senior citizen volunteer. Recipients are people over the age of 65 who have made their communities better places to live, and Alder certainly fits the bill.

“If it was not for people like Alma we could not do the job that we do, I can say that quite bluntly and boldly.” said Sheryl Tilley, supervisor of the Woolwich Township library branches.

“It’s good to know that we can depend on Alma to help us shelve and circulate books and that frees us up to do other things. We literally could not do the job that we do.”

Tilley said that while the other employees and volunteers at the library appreciate her smile and gentle good humour, it is her willingness to learn anything new that sets her apart. When the destructive earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March 2011 Alder – whose son lives there with his family – asked for a complicated task to keep her mind busy to keep from worrying about them.

“So we taught her how to run the circulation desk. She knows our computer software now for checking books in and out, and that can be a daunting task for anybody to learn,” said Tilley.

Alder believes that libraries are, and will continue to be, important components of a community. She said that they are an important meeting place and offer virtually unlimited sources of knowledge. She herself took up learning Japanese on tape and in print.

“There is so much knowledge here, you can learn about other countries if you want to travel, you can learn other languages, there’s home décor and gardening, just anything that you want to look up it’s here.”

Both women also agree on the value of volunteer service within the community; from a senior’s perspective volunteering has kept Alder’s mind active, allowed her to meet new people, remain active in the community, and even receive some physical exercise (she walks to work each week).

Tilley, meanwhile, said it’s a great opportunity for youth to fill their community hours and even get their foot in the door of the library profession.

“We have quite a number of volunteers; approximately 35 volunteers at this branch. It’s a great opportunity for young people in high school, and we find that if they learn as a volunteer there are sometimes job openings for students and they can work their way up the system like that.”

Alder will be presented with her award on Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the regional council chambers at 150 Frederick St. in Kitchener. The public and family are invited to attend.

The Elmira library is also hosting a party next Thursday at 2:30 p.m. to celebrate her award and her 20 years of service at 65 Arthur St. S.

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to The Observer's online community. Pseudonyms are not permitted. By submitting a comment, you accept that The Observer has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner The Observer chooses. Please note that The Observer does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our submission guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

LIVING HERE

Strong demand for traditional real Christmas trees can exceed supply

With Christmas just a few weeks away there’s only a short time left to pick out the perfect tree, but what will you choose: real or fake? Many retailers are facing dilemmas that...

In Print. Online. In Pictures. In Depth.

You obviously love community journalism. Thanks for visiting today. If you have a great local story, let us know.

Even those with jobs are increasingly reliant on food banks

An increasing number of full- and part-time workers across Ontario are accessing food bank services, a trend that can be seen in...

Answering the childhood question that rolls around at the holidays

Get into the Christmas spirit with a fresh retelling of a classic tale inspired by real events in Elora Community Theatre’s lastest offering.

Kings win another pair, solidify hold on first place

Seven is considered a lucky number. The Sugar Kings likely agree after putting up seven goals twice on route to a pair...

Getting drivers to slow down a slow process in Woolwich Township

Traffic issues, particularly speeding, are a frequent source of public complaints received by Woolwich officials. Often more perception than reality, the topic is...

Woolwich to attach overdue water bills to property taxes in bid to simplify collections process

Looking to simplify the collection process for overdue water and sewer bills – and increase the chance of getting its hands on...

Putting the cold on ice with the annual hat and mitten toss at Saturday’s Sugar Kings game

There’ll be no need to wait until somebody scores three goals to toss hats out onto the ice, as the Elmira Sugar...
- Advertisement -