With a smile that can light up a room and her ongoing volunteer efforts, it’s no wonder Red Deer’s Kay Kenny would come to one’s mind for National Volunteer Week.
Every April, this year from April 23rd to 29th, Volunteer Canada leads patrons of the community in celebration of National Volunteer Week, which recognizes volunteers and their efforts.
Kenny herself has been a volunteer all of her life.
“I’m really passionate about helping other people to be their best and do their best, and so wherever there’s a need is where I go,” she said.
Kenny, who has been retired for two years now, worked at the Collicutt Centre as the recreation superintendent. That involved overseeing all of the recreation facilities including those that are support related.
“I don’t say I retired because I’m just as busy now as I was then. I call myself ‘rewired’. Everyday’s a Saturday and I get to choose what I do, but I volunteer every day,” she said.
Kenny is currently the vice chair of Volunteer Central, an agency in the community that has 100 different organizations that it supports.
“It’s in Central Alberta but the majority of the organizations are right in the Red Deer area, and what we do is we help them recruit volunteers for each of their non-profit charitable organizations,” said Kenny.
She also does training for either their volunteers or their non-profit staff.
Having done lots of different things in her life, Kenny’s passionate about people who are in the health and wellness area and people who are trying to improve their life and lifestyle, and who are trying to grow to be the best that they can be.
She’s been involved in volunteer efforts with multi-sport games and opportunities from the Olympics in Calgary in 1988 to the 1995 Canada Winter Games in Grande Prairie. She also took part in the Arctic Winter Games and will now involved with the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer.
“Here so far I’ve been working with the Legacy Committee to see what kind of legacy we want to leave within the community. That’s where it started.”
Kenny will be seen at the 2019 Canada Winter Games taking care of all the individuals that will be out in the support areas with the athletes’ performances and behind the scenes work.
So why does she do it? Why does she continue to volunteer her time?
“I think that it’s very satisfying for an individual to be able to give to others, see their lifestyle, their situation improve and just to be able to give a hand up.”
For Kenny, if she cares about the cause, the people or the organization, she’s committed to it 100% or more.
“I think that’s what the benefit is, is that you grow yourself in that experience.”
Besides volunteering, Kenny has lots of grandkids – nine to be exact. They’re all in various parts of the country, so she enjoys taking the time to travel and visiting them, spending two or three weeks with them at a time.
Kenny grew up in Alberta and attended university in Edmonton and France, and finished at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver for a recreation education degree.
Even though she’s retired, or what she likes to say, ‘rewired,’ Kenny still continues to volunteer her time at least 20 hours a week or more.
“I just love it. That’s what I say. I volunteer doing something every day.”