This week we are celebrating volunteers.

We want to highlight those that are volunteering in the Foothills, those who do it to feel good, to feel closer to their community or simply because it needs to get done. 

Teresa Taylor is another volunteer in Okotoks we are highlighting. 

As with most of the volunteers we talk to, it's something they always did. They grew up with it. Taylor's family was no different. 

“I came from a big family. My mum and especially when some of the kids had gotten a bit bigger, volunteered in our schools … I grew up watching them help out. We always knew that things work better when there's lots of people involved paid or unpaid.” 

She continues, “It just was something that we watched our parents do and then I wanted that to be passed on to my own kids and I started in their schools when they were little and just kind of kept going from there."

That hope to inspire her kids is already blooming, she says. 

"They already do in different ways. They were kinda forced to volunteer when they were little. With you know, stacking chairs at events and stuff like that. You just help out. You don't stand around and watch, it's just not what I want them to be as adults, you know, I want them to be doers."

"I think that the best part about volunteering is that intrinsic peace it just gives me."

The volunteering kicked up a notch when her kids were in school and only grew from there. 

"We've moved lots of places and it just always felt like that was a great way to meet people as well. That similar type of people always appealed to me. People that were helpers were my kind of people and then it just kind of it kind of just rolls from there."

On top of volunteering with the Hospice, the Okotoks Wish Walk, and the Children's Hospital, she is also currently not just volunteering with the Simply Compassion Advocacy Society but is on the board as well. 

Through Simply Compassion, seniors living in care homes are able to have access to trained volunteer companions and advocates, at no cost to them. 

Though her work on the board is important, it's the human interaction she finds most fulfilling.

"I also have had the just beautiful opportunity to visit with a gentleman who just needed visitors during the pandemic. It started during COVID when they were very locked down and it's just been a beautiful gift to my life. Truly, he's an amazing man who's had an amazing life and he gets to share with me."

And not just for him.

"I know that he values me, but I feel like I've been given the bigger gift because he gives me so much interesting perspective on life and not even knowingly like he's just a really beautiful person. So it's been really a big gift. Which is, I think that the best part about volunteering, is that intrinsic peace it just gives me."

She touches on that word a few times. She finds it's a big part of why people volunteer. 

"It's a great way to give back, right? We're really so fortunate to like to live where we live and have all the things we have and have all the opportunities available. You know people that will help out just for that. 

"Not to be recognized, not to be paid, not to be any of those. 

"Just intrinsically motivated to do it. And so I think volunteerism is a way to kind of fill some gaps in a really beautiful way because it's just people coming together for a common goal."

All week we will be highlighting volunteers throughout the foothills. Additionally, there are several events honouring volunteers in our communities. If you know any volunteers in your social circle or workplace, take time this week to thank them.