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Author: Nancy Nourse Date: 2009-04-15 Region: All regions

STANSTEAD VOLUNTEERSC.A.B. Rediker Volunteer Center, founded and incorporated in 1980, stands out among the many volunteer groups who have made a positive impact on the Stanstead community. In 1994, Reginald Rediker donated the former Catholic boys school in Beebe (now part of the Town of Stanstead) to the Volunteer Center. In honour of this generous donation, a motion was passed to change the name of the center to the R.H. Rediker Volunteer Center (1995).

The Center is administered by a Board of Directors made up of volunteers, professionals and representatives of community organizations. The mission of this dedicated group of people is to promote volunteer work in different areas, providing a response to the needs of the community.

Their contributions to the community include playing an active role in co-ordinating and developing a solid team of volunteer workers, supporting these volunteers, supplying support to local organizations and putting in place services that will be beneficial to everyone. Offering many different programs such as the annual Seniors' Health Day (a regional event), the meals on wheels program, accompanied transport, errand accompaniment, operating a thrift shop, a wide-range of programs for seniors, offering free blood pressure clinic, loan of orthopaedic equipment, income tax clinic, Christmas basket project in collaboration with the Border Customs Agency, the all-important food bank and referral services has earned this group of volunteers a warm spot in the hearts of many of the residents of Stanstead and surrounding area.

Project P.A.C.E., designed for mothers and children under 5 years of age, has acted as a life-saver for many the young Mom who was at the end of her ropes and didn't know which way to turn. This program not only offers valuable social contact with others but also workshops in preparing healthy meals and child-care - most importantly self-esteem. Meeting three days a week, the P.A.C.E. volunteers help bring peace and tranquility into the lives of these young much as there can be with little ones around who are trying to investigate each and every new thing around them. Not long ago, the original location of P.A.C.E. suffered damage due to a fire and had to relocate temporarily but rest assured the C.A.B. team found a way for this activity to continue.

Director Mylène Labonté and her team of '
cheerleaders' work hard to make the fearfulness, loneliness and isolation disappear from the lives of children, teens, adults and seniors. Sometimes just knowing that there is someone there to listen, someone who can also refer you to a person or specialist who can ease your mind is all that one needs.

Each year, C.A.B. Rediker celebrates National Volunteer Week by holding a special luncheon. This celebration is traditionally attended by government representatives (municipal, provincial and federal) who have come to realize that these celebrations are representative of the collective wealth of the Stanstead area. One politician was noted as saying that all too often this kind of wealth is not celebrated as much as it should be, especially when it pertains to seniors. According to research, 1.1 million people put in 180,000 hours volunteering in some way -- one-half the population of Quebec. Together we can accomplish day at a time.

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