April 29, 2022

We celebrate UCalgary Nursing volunteers during National Volunteer Week 2022

In the spotlight: Those in our nursing community and the causes close to their hearts
Dean Sandra Davidson and husband Jim walk down road
Dean Sandra Davidson and husband Jim walk through Kananaskis as part of the 2016 Kidney March Courtesy of Sandra Davidson

Volunteering helps us see the world through the eyes of others. It can also build our capacity to work collectively and contribute to a vibrant, inclusive society. The theme for National Volunteer Week 2022 is Volunteering is Empathy in Action. It affirms how human connection is at the heart of healthier individuals and stronger communities. 

To honour National Volunteer Week, April 24 to 30, we’re highlighting volunteers from our nursing community as they share why they give back.

Sandra Davidson

Dean, UCalgary Nursing

Dr. Sandra Davidson gives final speech at the 2016 Kidney March

Dr. Sandra Davidson gives final speech at the 2016 Kidney March

Courtesy of Sandra Davidson

“I have been a volunteer with the Kidney Foundation of Canada (KFOC) since 1998 (except from 2005-2013 when we lived in the U.S.). They recruited me back again in 2016 to serve as the president of the Southern Alberta Branch (SAB) which means I was also a National Board of Director member (2016-2019) and I am still a member of the SAB board of directors. When I was president, my husband and I walked in the 2016 Kidney March — 100 kms over three days through Kananaskis — to raise funds and awareness around kidney disease.

When I met my husband, he’d just had his first kidney transplant after being on hemodialysis for several years in his early 20s. I saw first-hand the life-changing gift that transplants are for those living with chronic kidney disease. I felt that as a nurse, and as a family member of someone living with kidney disease, that I could bring this mix of understanding and knowledge to KFOC that seeks to support those living with kidney disease and support research to find a cure for kidney disease. 

My most recent work with Health Canada’s Organ Donation and Transplantation Collaborative was a direct result of my connection to the Kidney Foundation. I serve as a KFOC representative on the Patient/Advocate Advisory Committee and as a member on the Working Group for Inter-Provincial Organ Sharing.                                                                                                

Her advice around volunteering? 

Find something that blends your passions, interests and skillset. There are many different roles within volunteer organizations. 

Melody Chu

SU nursing representative, Undergraduate Nursing Society

Melody Chu

Melody Chu at UNS's Purdy's Chocolate fundraiser

Courtesy of Melody Chu

“I served as the VP of Social on the Year One Nursing Council while helping with Undergraduate Nursing Society (UNS) events. This rewarding experience and inspiration from the UNS team motivated me to apply to be one of the co-chairs of the Peer Mentorship Committee under the UNS. This year, as the VP of Finance of UNS, I dedicated myself to organizing the Fundscrip Gift Card Fundraiser, Purdy’s Chocolate sale, and the merchandise in collaboration with other executives.

As an immigrant in Canada, I find volunteering gives me a sense of belonging and ways to learn about the Canadian culture. I have volunteered with various groups and organizations at the university, but I enjoy giving back to our faculty the most.

Her advice around volunteering: 
Volunteer in something that you are passionate about. Try your best to learn and make the most out of the experience and make time for volunteer activities.” 

Kate Wong, BN’12 

Vice-president and vice-chair, UCalgary Alumni Association

Kate Wong

Kate Wong

Lori Andrews, 10 cent studio

“I have been a volunteer for UCalgary since 2012, when I graduated from my BN program. I was the president and co-president of the Nursing Alumni Committee from 2012-2019. After my time on the Nursing Alumni Committee, I was asked to volunteer for the UCalgary Alumni Association (UCAA) New Graduate Committee where we advised university staff on programing for graduates in the first 10 years of their career. In 2020, I was asked to join the UCAA Board of Directors, and in 2021, I was appointed Vice President and Vice Chair of the board. 

I became involved with alumni volunteering because I was asked to join the Nursing Alumni Committee by the then-president. I accepted because I had spent four years at the university and was not ready to end my relationship with the Faculty of Nursing. Ten years later, I am still volunteering for alumni, now because my relationship with the university community is one of the most important points of connection in my life. I truly believe UCalgary alumni make the world a better place, and I am always happy to support the work of the Nursing Alumni Committee and UCAA in any way that I can.

Her advice around volunteering: 

Volunteering is a great way to be engaged in your community, and volunteering with UCalgary has been a very enriching experience. It’s been an avenue for networking, working on my public speaking skills, meeting mentors, and becoming a mentor.” 

Karen Cook  

Senior manager, communications

Karen Cook with Orson and Arthur

Karen Cook with Orson and Arthur

Courtesy of Karen Cook

“I have volunteered with ElderDog Canada, Calgary Pawd since 2019 and am currently the communications and outreach co-ordinator. I do their social media, answer email enquiries and look for avenues to get the word out about what we do. ElderDog is a national non-profit committed to helping seniors and their dogs stay together for as long as possible. When an owner is temporarily unable to care for their pet, a volunteer might walk the dog or we try to find a foster home if it is longer term.  We also rehome senior dogs. 

I am a huge believer in that human-animal bond so it combines both of the areas I wanted to volunteer in. I also was thinking ahead to retirement and wanted to have a solid footing in an organization I believed in, I could be a value to and that made me feel fulfilled, before I stopped the full-time gig.  

Her advice around volunteering: 

Assuming you have done your due diligence on the organization, do not volunteer unless you can commit for at least one year — the organization counts on your help.