My mother was a tireless do-gooder. I think community service was a given in her generation. So it set me a worthwhile precedent. When I finally started building my home in the Comox Valley, I discovered that homesteading has a rich tradition of community coming together to do “barn-raising” – essentially a moving force of builders mutually helping each other. I still have a picture of a dozen or so of my close friends pushing up a fully-built 24 ft by 14 ft wall. I had a hand in helping many a rustic cabin.
My first foray into volunteering was starting a non-profit group to bring recycling to where i lived, which at that time was only served by a landfill. I was the first president of Citizens Action For Recycling and the Environment (CARE) in 1989. Incidentally this kick-started my career as an environmental Project Manager, as i became CARE’s first employee, running the project Comox Valley Recycling.
During that time I was elected to serve on the board as a Director of the Recycling Council of British Columbia. In 1992 I was also asked by the Provincial Government to sit as a recycling industry representative on their Municipal Solid Waste Task Force. I spent 2 years helping to steer the development of the Regional District of Comox-Strathcona’s Solid Waste Management Plan. During the 1990’s I volunteered with a number of recycling organizations to promote waste reduction and recycling. I also helped to support numerous recycling groups through the umbrella Group REDORA (Regional District Organization of Recycling Associations)
I started a large annual public recycling drop-off event in 1990, The Spring Cleanup, in collaboration with the Regional District of Comox Strathcona, CFB Comox and the Driftwood Mall (where the event was held). This event attracted hundreds of the public, and collected multi-materials for recycling, as well as a “Free Store”, and brush grinding service. This later became Hazardous Waste Days in 1999, also in partnership with Genesis Recycling, and The Paint Care Association. Recycling computers was the main material focus.
My interests in community development led me to serve as a member of citizen APC’s (Advisory Planning Committees) helping to develop the Comox Valley Community Plan (OCP), and later, the Village of Cumberland’s OCP. I was trained as a facilitator to lead group visioning meetings to help develop the Valley Vision Plan. I also was asked to contribute to as a citizen-expert on the Village of Cumberland’s Liquid Waste Management Plan.
In 1995 I brought the worlds leading expert on constructed wetlands, Bob Gearhart, to the Comox Valley. I worked with the non-profit group GHOSTS (Greenhouse Sewage Treatment Society) on Hornby Island to build an innovative demonstration treatment wetland. I worked extensively with the Baynes Sound Round Table with government and community organizations to deal with pollution in the local shellfish harvesting area, Baynes Sound. I volunteered with Project Watershed to do water sampling. I worked with a Union Bay Planning committee to bring a constructed wetland/ Solar Aquatics system to Union Bay.I founded the non-profit group CWAC (Cumberland Wetland Action Committee) to advocate for the Cumberland Constructed Treatment Wetland.
I served for 3 years as a director of the Comox Valley Credit Union.
I have always had a desire to help others less fortunate than me directly. This has led me to help with organizations that support those in crisis, with addiction or mental health issues. I was a volunteer hotline operator for the Comox Valley Crisis Line, and currently I am a peer phone responder for the Vancouver-based Warm Line.I make presentations to many organizations and facilitate meetings for 12-Step Recovery Programs, and am a public speaker on Recovery Issues to the professional community..
I have raised over $1 million for numerous charities and non-profits over the years,You can read more about that here. Conventional and Crowd Funding.
Most recently I have been a volunteer fundraiser with:
Over 3 years I helped the Kriya Yoga Organization The Art of Peace to completely overhaul their international organization. I was the personal assistant to the founder Swami Sarveshwarananda, collaborating in his charitable programs to help orphans and widows in India, and street children in South America.
I 2012 I founded a natural building research group in the Comox Valley to research, promote and build natural building styles such as cob, bale, stackwall and Earthship designs. I worked with Ted Burch Engineering and OUR Ecovillage in Shawinigan Lake, BC to expand the Village. I helped build the first Earthship building on Denman Island, BC.