Volunteering’s about people reaching out, says Masso

The one thing that stands out for Deb Masso as a volunteer in Port Alberni is the idea of people reaching out.

Deb Masso adds Canada Day entertainment to her list of volunteer jobs.

The one thing that stands out for Deb Masso as a volunteer in Port Alberni is the idea of people reaching out.

(read more about National Volunteer Week here)

When she was first approached earlier this year by Sarah Thomas, president of the Port Alberni Folkfest Multicultural Society, about volunteering with the Canada Day events, she stepped up to the plate.

“I said, ‘Sure, I’m always up for a challenge,’” Masso said. “I loved how she reached out and allowed me to put my foot in another area and I like doing that.”

As a full-time Nuu-chah-nulth education worker at Alberni Elementary School, Masso has a busy life, but makes it a priority to commit to her volunteer roles. Now, coordination of entertainment for Canada Day is just one of several things she does outside of her paid work.

Years ago she became involved in the Alberni Valley Restorative Justice Society through a personal connection. She completed her training but did not fulfill the required hours.

“Back then restorative justice wasn’t ‘out there’ like it is now,” she said. “Last fall I did some more intensive training and then co-facilitated my first circle.”

As a people person, Masso said the work is rewarding.

“It’s about being and living in a healthy community,” she said.

“I get to work with victims and offenders together in the community to make it a better place to live. We all make mistakes, but this brings a much gentler way for offenders to go about making positive changes in their lives.”

Part of Masso’s love of working with people involves sharing her First Nation culture. She is currently doing that at the United Church in order to help build an understanding of Aboriginal Peoples. The first event is one taking place for Earth Day celebrations.

“This is fairly new,” she said. “The church has been reaching out to build bridges as a result of the Truth and Reconciliation hearings.”

The event will take place on Sunday, April 24 at the church and include First Nation drumming and storytelling. Masso wrote a story specifically for this day, based around the Nuu-chah-nulth concept of “Hishuk Ish Tsawalk”, or “We Are All One”. It is a snapshot of life, culture, spirituality and respect for the environment.

Following that, Masso will assist the church with a larger, week-long celebration in July with three hours each morning of First Nations foods, crafts and culture.

As a skilled organizer, joining the committee for Canada Day was a natural.

“I have always attended as a spectator,” she said. “I always go to the parade and follow it to Glenwood to feast on some of the food booths and watch the entertainment on stage.”

This year, Masso is following up with entertainment from the past, but is open to all new acts. She hopes to hear from local talent who would be interested in performing on July 1.

When she is not busy with work and volunteering, Masso also helps out at a retail shop owned by her partner.

“I have a full life, but I get a sense of fulfillment in doing these things,” she said. “If I didn’t, I don’t think I would want to but I do get a sense of satisfaction. This is my community and I am participating in it.”

 

Just Posted

Brush fire breaks out near Taylor Arm Park

Fire forces partial closure of Highway 4 west of Port Alberni

Rosalind Chapman seeks seat on Port Alberni city council

Community volunteer and longtime Alberni Valley resident Rosalind Chapman will seek a… Continue reading

Accident causes power outage on Beaver Creek Road

One sent to West Coast General Hospital in crash

Inside the music: step behind the curtain at the venerable Vancouver Island Music Festival

Big Read: VIMF in the Comox Valley exemplifies the spirit of an Island summer music festival

Save-On-Foods donates to summer kids’ program in Port Alberni

Food bank takes over from breakfast programs once summer vacation starts

BC Games: Day 2 comes to an end

Hundreds of medals have been handed out at the 2018 BC Summer Games in the Cowichan Valley

Recovery high schools could help teens before addiction takes hold: B.C. parents

Schools could provide mental health supports and let parents discuss their children’s drug use openly

Haida Gwaii village faces housing crisis, targets short-term rentals

Housing is tight and the village is pretty close to zero vacancy

Evacuation numbers remain at nearly 1,000 as B.C. wildfires rage on

200 firefighters and 18 helicopters were working to increase the containment of the fires

B.C. VIEWS: Unions regain control of public construction

B.C.’s 40-year battle swings back to international big labour

Accident on Vancouver Island after artillery gun rolls down hill and damages taxi

Witness says accident happend about 1 p.m. Saturday; RCMP investigating

B.C. mining company, involved in 2014 spill, ordered to pay lost wages

Mount Polley Mining Company must pay wages to 26 employees who were laid off without proper notice

Two significant wildfires burning in southeastern B.C.

More than 20 fires were burning in the Southeast Fire Centre as of Saturday afternoon

Volunteers provide the glue that keeps BC Games moving

The 2018 Cowichan Summer Games had more than 2,300 volunteers on hand across Vancouver Island

Most Read