|January 30, 2014
|Calgary Women In Energy
|Anne-Marie Rush, Carissa De La Vega, Kristy Hysert
|charity, Community, Drop in Centre, Food Drive, Non-profet, Philanthropy, toy drive, Volunteerism
Since the forming of the group in January 2003, Calgary Women in Energy (CWIE) has made a commitment to making an impact in our community by dedicating our free time to local agencies and organizations in need.
One differentiator from other industry groups who focus primarily on social networking, CWIE members dedicate their personal time to improving and strengthening our community through volunteerism and philanthropy.
â€œI think we have a responsibility to be involved with our community and our neighbours,â€ says Kristy Hysert, who is the Director of Community Involvement for CWIE. â€œIt requires we look out for one another. Too often, we underestimate the power of a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring. All of which have the potential to turn a life aroundâ€.
Calgary Women in Energy recognizes itâ€™s not always easy for people to volunteer. As an individual, it can be a daunting task to commit oneâ€™s time and resources. By organizing as a group, we help make it accessible and convenient for our members to get involved. This allows members to donate as much or as little time as their schedules permit, which benefits not only the charities but also rewards those volunteers with the feeling of engagement in our community. Simply ask one of our many members, and they will tell you it is a very gratifying experience.
This year at Christmas, CWIE did our first annual toy drive in support of the Womenâ€™s Centre of Calgary (www.womenscentrecalgary.org). As this was our first year, we were unsure on how well the program would be received. Once again, with the generous support of CWIE members, friends, and coworkers, we were able to help provide more than 845 women and 1,655 children with holiday gifts they would not have otherwise received. We felt truly humbled by the tremendous support of not only our membership but our industry as a whole.
In 2013, it was with great pride and gratitude that Calgary Women in Energy donated more than $60,000 to worthy charities, such as the Discovery House (www.discoveryhouse.ca), YWCA Sheriff King Home (www.ywcaofcalgary.com/program/ywca- sheriff-king-home), The Womenâ€™s Centre of Calgary, and the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation (www.runforthecure.com). Understanding there was a huge demand on charities this year, CWIE was honored to help a few worthy charities that resonated with our female membership.
However, itâ€™s not only the monetary donations CWIE can put a name to. Some of our most noteworthy contributions come in the form of volunteer hours in the community. One such contributory is the Calgary Interfaith Food Bank (www.calgaryfoodbank.com). The Food Bank is an emergency food distribution hub for all of Southern Alberta. The Calgary Women in Energy participate in organizing a yearly food drive, collecting emergency food for local individuals and families in need, and the agencies and programs that serve them.
Our longest running community commitment, and definitely a member favorite, is CWIEâ€™s volunteer pledge at the Calgary Drop In and Rehabilitation Centre (www.thedi.ca). The DI is a homeless shelter in downtown Calgary that offers food and shelter to some of our citiesâ€™ most vulnerable. Serving three hot meals a day to sometimes upwards of 1000 clients, the DI relies heavily on volunteersÂ to assist with the increasing demand. With Calgary Women in Energyâ€™s monthly commitment, we help make it possible for the DI to not only serve a warm nutritious meal but also to assist in running programs, the operation of the facility, and the overall care for their clients.
â€œIt is so humbling to serve a hot meal to a stranger. Seeing their gratitude for such a small thing that most of us take for granted is such an eye opening experience. These monthly dates have become so important to me. They keep me grounded and focused on whatâ€™s really important in life,â€ says Anne- Marie Rush, who is the CWIE President.
For the past three years, CWIE has participated in a quarterly event through Soup Sisters International (www.soupsisters.org). This is a program where members participate in soup-making at a local professional kitchen under the guidance of a chef facilitator. Each event produces approximately 150-200 servings of nourishing soup that are delivered fresh to a local shelter. Thereâ€™s no greater senseÂ of camaraderie than being shoulder to shoulder, chopping and prepping ingredients, with 15 other women. Soup Sisters has become one of the choice events for our members to really get to know each other on a personal level, while making an impact on local shelters.
Being able to contribute so much time and money to our local community is a direct reflection of the generosity and character of our membership and supporters. We are proud to know we have helped to improve our city in our own way. Involvement in the community has not only become an integral part of our group but also to our members as individuals. Working in an industry with so much abundance, we take pride in being able to pass some of that along to our neighbors and are continuously working on furthering our reach. Above all, Calgary Women in Energy strives to be the voice for professional women in Calgaryâ€™s Energy sector through charitable acts of kindness and volunteerism.
For more information about CWIE, or for membership inquiries, please visit our website: www.cwie.org.