Jill Hansen’s smile brightens up the room when she walks in.
It is with her vibrancy she has helped make the Shatford Centre, Okanagan School of the Arts, a better place. She may not have the most high-profile volunteer job at the Shatford, but it is one of the most important.
“I sweep, I mop, I clean tables, do dishes, basically a custodian. A little bit of everything,” said Hansen who has been volunteering at the Shatford for about 2.5 years. “I love being here.”
It is the diverse community that comes to the Shatford for classes, meetings, workshops and events that initially attracted Hansen to volunteer.
“I like to get out and meet people and be in the community. It helps me see what our town is like as a whole,” she said. “I like all the people that come here and it is a great place to be.”
Hansen has previously been part of the Penticton Junior Chamber International where she volunteered at a number events, plus volunteered at the Okanagan Fest-of-Ale, did traffic control for Ironman Canada and offered her time and talents to a number of other organizations. She said she especially enjoyed working with kids at the Penticton Community Centre, admitting she is a bit of one herself still.
“I would get right in there with the kids and I would play right along with them,” said Hansen. “Volunteering helps people grow and makes you feel better about yourself too.”
Humbled for being recognized for her volunteer work, Hansen said she doesn’t expect much from anyone in return for her time, either inside the Shatford or just doing good deeds for others in the public.
“Just a smile, or even a wave of acknowledgment is good for me,” said Hansen.
Faith Greenwood, executive assistant at the Shatford Centre, said Hansen is a vital part of their team.
“Part of her appeal is her reliability. She is here four days a week and it is also a very sunny time of the day when she comes because she is such a bright and cheerful person,” said Greenwood. “She is willing to help and do just about anything.”
Hansen is actually a founding contributor to the Shatford Centre, through her volunteer hours that she contributed to the building.
Jane Shaak, executive director, said they have about 30 to 40 volunteers, co-ordinated by volunteer chairman Judi Ritcey, who help out at the Shatford Centre and they are always looking for more. They ask those interested to fill out a short form so they can match a potential volunteer to the things they like doing best.
“There is lots of opportunity and this is such a nice place to be. We want people to do things they want to do,” said Shaak.
She noted one volunteer, Bud Howell, who previously worked in the building when it was part of the school, as a custodian. Since he retired, he has continued looking after the building as a volunteer.
“It is a community building. We have a very small staff here and when we have events we have people helping or a special project. This is a community centre type of place,” said Shaak.