For Port Alberni resident Bev Frolic, volunteering has been incredibly rewarding.
“It took me five years after officially retiring to truly let go of my career in education,” says Frolic, a former school teacher who made Port Alberni her home in 1971.
Like many people coming from other lands, Bev felt the transition. “Away from family and friends, my move from Regina, Saskatchewan was an exhilarating adventure, but one faced with some trepidation,” she said.
Once in the Valley, she found great teaching positions in schools with like-minded teaching colleagues and enjoyed the experience.
“Besides,” she added, “We took advantage of the proximity to mountains, the lake and the ocean to develop skills and explore this amazing area.”
After 32 years as a school educator, Frolic officially retired in 2003. And while deciding to see what possibilities awaited her, she met Betty Argotow, who at that time was the president of the local Canadian Cancer Society and the “face” of the organization in the Valley.
“That was the beginning of my volunteering ‘career,’” said Frolic.
For the next 10 years, along with a dedicated group of keen volunteers, she was involved in the planning and presentation of a number of fundraising events, including lunches with fashion shows, scarf sales with the Alberni Valley Bulldogs, “Relay for Life” events and support for the Cops for Cancer Tour de Rock.
She rues the unfortunate consequences of changing times and priorities that caused the local chapter of the Canadian Cancer Society to close after 50 years in the Valley. Greater dependence on computers and online information made the existence of bricks and mortar offices redundant.
However, being passionate about working with others who share her love of helping and having fun, Frolic found several other opportunities to volunteer, including various provincial sport games, the Tall Ships, the Ambassador Program, Pot Luck Ceramics and the Charity Golf Classic.
“What I learned from all these endeavours is that this community truly does step up and does support the many great causes they are asked to help,” she said.
She also feels fortunate to be able to call on her husband frequently, as he also enjoys supporting worthy causes. “Even our son donates some of his time when school and work permit,” she said.
Frolic adds that local businesses that are so often approached and asked to contribute do all they can, confirming our need to shop locally.
“I continue to be overwhelmed with the generosity of individuals and businesses, giving me a deep appreciation of this lovely place we call home,” she said.
Another volunteer opportunity recently caught Frolic’s attention as the roll out of COVID-19 vaccinations is progressing. A former employee of the Canadian Cancer Society reached out to ask for Frolic’s help in finding individuals who could assist with our local vaccination clinics. Recognizing the need to support this very critical aspect of getting life back to normal, Frolic offered her time and encouraged others to also volunteer.
“You never know when a voice from the past will call out!” she said. “Hopefully these volunteers will help smooth the way for an efficient, cordial vaccination experience.”
Although COVID-19 has affected so many of us in so many ways, Frolic is confident that the people of the Alberni Valley will continue to be resilient and strong, as they have been so often in the past.
Frolic’s strong commitment and interest in helping her community is summarized with these words: “For me, volunteering is a way to give back to the community that provided me with a great career and a wonderful way of life.”