Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau50 Years

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Caught in the Act

Ken Nash - The Community Village

by Tanya Ruigrok, GPVSB Communications

 

Ken Nash is a busy man with an active lifestyle.  For 36 years he worked in waste management, a challenging job where he was very busy all day long.  “When I retired” he says, “I suddenly found myself with nothing to do – my self worth started to decline. I came to The Community Village to see if they could use some help and found out they needed LOTS of help.”

The Community Village houses a diverse collection of social services agencies (Volunteer Services Bureau, Grande Prairie Legal Guidance, Centerpoint Facilitation, Alberta Health Services, ARCH Psychology, McMann Youth Family & Community Services, GP Family Education Society, Mountain Plains Community Services and the GP Performing Arts Guild) and provides a comfortable, welcoming, collaborative environment to non-profit organizations and social-purpose agencies seeking office, meeting, or programming space - as well as to individuals interested in donating their time or expertise to make our community a better place.

Ken is a regular sight around The Community Village – he can always be found fixing something, cleaning something or doing some kind of odd job for the village agencies. Some examples of Ken’s responsibilities are: shoveling snow in the winter, cutting the lawns, looking after the grounds, changing all the lightbulbs, sanding the walkways, snow-blowing the common areas, fixing the electrical and tending the gardens.  “I feel like I’m doing something really worthwhile.  I feel like I have people that value me.  I’ve made a lot of friends from all walks of life.” 

When asked what the best experience he has had while volunteering at the Community Village Ken can’t specify any one particular thing, but he does say this: “The best thing that has happened to me here is meeting the agency staff and the other volunteers.  My self-worth is better – I’m getting out of the house and doing things for other people. I find I really like helping other people – it makes me feel great – and it’s not like I’m expecting anything back from anything.”

It becomes quickly obvious that Ken has a real sense of pride and responsibility towards The Community Village.  “Sometimes I come at 5:00 am to do all the snow-blowing – If it’s snowing hard the night before, I find myself unable to sleep because I’m worried about the agency staff and how they’re going to get through the snow.”

We asked him what his experiences at the Community Village have been.  “It took me a while to establish a relationship with the street people but in time they started to help out,  even without me asking - I’d get lots of offers to help.  You’d be surprised at how willing they are to help out if they are treated with a bit of of respect and dignity.  I think that they leave feeling better about themselves because they got to help and contribute.  A lot of these people are good people – they just got down on their luck.  Who’s to say I’m perfect either?”

Sue Reid is the Facility Manager of The Community Village – she reflects on when Ken first started volunteering.  “He came in wanting to know if we had something for him to do and I put him to work right away.  Ken does all the maintenance and odd jobs – he’s 72 years old and shows up at 5:00 in the morning to  do the snowblowing.  It blows my mind.”  Another thing she would like to highlight about Ken is his personality “he is so funny – his sense of humour is fantastic.  He’s a pleasure to be around.

The Community Village nominated Ken for the 2015 Grande Prairie Volunteer Services Bureau’s Volunteer of the Year awards.  Sue made the nomination for Ken’s unfailing dedication to the village, the sheer volume of hours he puts in to keep the buildings running smoothly, his willingness to help out with any task that needs to be performed, his kindness towards the village’s unique target demographic group and for his relationships with the agencies that are housed there.  “The agencies have come to rely on Ken for anything they need done.”

“I wish more people would get involved here, because they really need the help.  I wish they could meet the people here and get to know them.  They could really use more funding here to help more people and so that the staff had more time do their job effectively.”  When asked what he would tell other people about volunteering at the village he says, “I would tell them about the sweethearts that work around here – they make you coffee, give you a hard time.  This is a very challenging, busy volunteer position – there’s lots to do and not enough people to do it.” 

What would Ken be doing if he wasn’t volunteering?  “If I wasn’t volunteering I’d be snowmobiling, skiing, or working my trap-line but I like being here helping out and visiting with the agency staff.”  

 The Community Village

Organization Profile

 

The Community Village is home to an abundance of open-minded organizations who meet the social needs of the community through mentorship, collaboration and leadership.

To enrol as a participant or volunteer, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 780-532-4494.

 

 

 

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