Engage and Connect: the Heart of Community Impact Day.

On June 9th, First Credit Union celebrated its 77th anniversary. Since we opened our doors in 1939, the way we do business has changed significantly (it’s hard to remember what we did before computers came along!); but what hasn’t changed is our personalized, hands-on approach to helping our members and our community.

We believe in engaging in activities that result in connecting  with members and the communities we serve. Community Impact Day is an opportunity to work alongside non-profit organizations painting, weeding, building fences and clearing brush for a few hours – a powerful way to connect with our community.

This year’s Community Impact Day will be taking place tomorrow, June 16th–please be advised that all of our branches will be closing early at 2pm while we head out to volunteer! To get a better idea of what Community Impact Day means to our staff, our local non-profit organizations, and our communities, check out this video from last year’s event that achieved such great success that this project has become annual.

Changemakers among us

Lorraine Allman and Tara Chernoff from First Credit Union present a $7,500 donation to Martyn Woolley and Jessica Colasanto from the Community Resource Centre

You don’t have to go too far to find changemakers in our community. These are people who are passionate about making a positive difference in the lives of others, people who act to make the world a better place to be, people like the staff at the Community Resource Centre.

The Community Resource Centre (CRC) has been operating in Powell River since 2007. While the CRC’s services are available to everyone, their main purpose is to assist the most vulnerable members of our community by providing a safe place for them to socialize, integrate, learn, and have access to basic services. Many of their clients are  experiencing low income, social or cultural isolation, homelessness, or are at risk of becoming homeless.

The CRC provides a range of services including the Harmony Cafe, cooking classes, public access computers, public telephone, volunteer tax-help, legal and community services information, and even laundry facilities. Behind the building is a thriving garden and a composting demonstration centre. The produce grown in the garden supplies the Harmony Cafe.

crc garden
First staff volunteering at the CRC Community Garden during Community Impact Day 2015

It takes a lot of volunteers and community support to run the Community Resource Centre effectively; our staff experienced this first-hand when they volunteered their time to do fall maintenance in the CRC garden during Community Impact Day 2015. Last week were were thrilled to be able to support the essential work of the CRC once again, this time with a financial donation of $7,500. We’d like to shout out a big thank you to our creditor insurance provider, CUMIS, for contributing $2,500 towards this donation, as part of a nation-wide initiative to support local non-profit organizations.


One of the highlights of my job is presenting donations on behalf of our organization and our members. At the end of the cheque presentation, Martyn and Jessica presented us with a gift – a beautiful thank you card signed by the CRC staff and clients. In it they wrote:

 “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much!”

We wholeheartedly agree. Thank you CRC for making a positive difference in the lives of our most vulnerable community members. Thank you for being changemakers!

The Volunteer Experience: Gratitude, Happiness, and Pride

Powell River staff getting ready to help with maintenance on the Sunshine Coast Trail.
Powell River staff getting ready to help with maintenance on the Sunshine Coast Trail.

It was not a decision that was made lightly; on Thursday October 8 First Credit Union & Insurance and Westview Agencies closed early. At 2pm, 140 staff turned off their office lights, loaded their vehicles with shovels, paint brushes, aprons, craft supplies, and scrub brushes, and headed into the community to work as volunteers.

What possessed us to potentially inconvenience our members and clients? Why did we decide to close early during an incredibly busy work week? We did it to make a statement – serving our communities is important to us. We did it because we believe in people helping people, and that volunteering is a powerful way to strengthen our communities.  We were hoping that our contribution would make a positive difference but we weren’t quite prepared for what we got in return.

For 3 hours our staff painted, filed, prepped food, cleared brush, scrubbed, planted trees, cleaned playgrounds, served seniors, weeded gardens, made crafts, and fund-raised for a local food bank. As we came together at the end of the day to share our stories, it was clear that although we’d volunteered for different organizations, we had all shared one very powerful experience – we were bursting with gratitude, happiness, and pride. Grateful to the non-profit organizations who work for our benefit every day; by volunteering we got to know more about them and we were in awe of what they accomplish. Happy to work alongside our coworkers towards a common goal; although we were working hard, we were having fun and the camaraderie was uplifting and energizing. Proud to work for our organization; closing early so that we could volunteer was a bold statement, but one that clearly articulates our values – how wonderful to work for an organization that ‘walks the walk’!

We started out wanting to make a positive impact – and we did. But what surprised us was that for that for all the positive energy and goodwill that we gave to our communities that afternoon, we received it all back … and more. Will we host another Community Impact Day? I hope so. Closing for a few hours so that we could volunteer in the community was a powerful experience – one that I would love to be part of again!

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Beaufort Children’s Centre to receive a chore busting boost on Community Impact Day!


Beaufort Children’s Centre has an undisputed reputation for outstanding quality early childhood care in the Comox Valley. If you happen to be visiting North Island College campus, where they are located, listen for the laughter and feel the joy that radiates from the playground and you will understand why they are so loved.

Beaufort has been operating for 20 years ‘serving North Island College student, faculty and staff families in addition to Comox Valley community families. Parents, community members and North Island College representatives make up the Board of Directors and contribute to the direction of the centre’. Each year approximately 100 families enroll in Beaufort and benefit from the respectful, caring and inclusive relationships that are formed by staff at the centre.

Caring for so many children under five years of age comes with a long list of daily chores, making extras like playground scrubbing and outside toy maintenance hard to get to. On October 8th, staff members from First Credit Union & Insurance will be supporting the centre by sweeping, scrubbing and cleaning outdoor equipment as part of our Community Impact Day initiative.

If you would like to make a donation or get involved with Beaufort Children’s Centre or learn more about the amazing work they do, visit them online: http://www.beaufortchildcare.ca/.

photo source: https://www.facebook.com/beaufortchildcare?fref=photo

Community Impact Day: Trading Dress Shoes for Gumboots

therapeutic riding
Source: https://www.facebook.com/Powell-River-Therapeutic-Riding-Association-392922714058562/timeline/

I think that most people in Powell River know of someone who benefits from the unique therapy that the Powell River Therapeutic Riding Association provides to people with disabilities. I’ve heard about the love, dedication and vision of the people who run this organization, but a few months ago I had an opportunity to see it first-hand at their annual Ride-a-Thon fundraiser. I was there to cheer on some family friends; it was an incredible experience. With the assistance of volunteers, riders of all ages proudly rode their gentle horses through an obstacle course to demonstrate their hard-earned skills as families and friends cheered them on; it was truly their day to shine. The smiles on the faces of the riders, the volunteers and the supporters said it all – PR Therapeutic Riding makes a positive difference in the lives of many people.

The Therapeutic Riding Association relies heavily on volunteers. Over 75 people, ranging from teens to senior citizens, participate as side walkers and horse handlers, fundraising coordinators, special events volunteers, grounds work crew, and board positions.

Recently the society built new shelters in one of their enclosures and are planning to expand the paddock to make room for more horses. However, before they can do this, there is brush that needs to be cleared. We are excited to be able to help with this project as part of our Community Impact Day! On Thursday October 8 from 2 to 5pm, sixteen First Credit Union & Insurance and Westview Agencies staff members will be trading their dress shoes for gumboots and their computers for shovels to help clear the undergrowth and move it to a burn pile. Clearing this land will help the Therapeutic Riding Society to move to the next phase of their project which is to expand the paddock. Stay tuned for posts about other organizations that we will be volunteering for on Community Impact Day!

If you would like to support the Powell River Therapeutic Riding Association, check out their website or Facebook page to find out how you can volunteer or making a donation.