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Making the Difference in Kids' Lives

December 21, 2015

David Cairns has been a volunteer since he was in junior high. "I have the opportunity to give back so I don't think there's any reason why I shouldn't" he said.

National Volunteer Week [celebrates] volunteers who help keep the Heartland Youth Centre centre operating all year round.

"We just want to recognize all of the fantastic volunteers here because we know that our facility and our programs could not operate without our volunteers," said Vickie Lang, a caseworker with Big Brothers Big Sisters, which shares the youth centre with the Boys and Girls Club.

"We want to give them their due appreciation."

The centre presently has about 50 regular volunteers and up to 85 for special events like fundraisers.

David Cairns has been a volunteer since he was in jl.lllior high. The 18-year old has been volunteering with the Heartland Youth Centre for the last two years.

"I have the opportunity to give back so I don't think there's any reason why I shouldn't,". he said.

He added that he doesn't do it for the recognition or a barbecued hot dog.

"It's great to have a parent or child thank you for the work you've done," he said. "That's the recognition that really hits home ... and that you feel good about when you get it."

Cairns also chose not to accept the pay he was offered to help the young boys he works with.

"I wasn't worried about pay. I'm just not used to getting paid for it so I just said 'No, I'll volunteer.'"

He hopes he's an encouraging influence for the kids.

"(I'm] offering a positive role model to kids [and] building up their selfesteem," said Cairns. "Giving them a friend or someone to look up to is a positive influence in anyone's life regardless of where they come from."

Lang is hoping to find more people like Cairns.

"He's an awesome volunteer," she said.

The Heartland Youth Centre...is growing and Lang said they are always Looking for more volunteers.

"Anybody who's interested, come on in," she said. "Any age, any abilities. We don't turn people away. We find them a place that they're interested in and get them involved... working with the kids directly or behind the scenes with programs or fundraisers."

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story and photo: Christopher Walsh
reprinted from: Stettler Independent

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