Why I Volunteer

This blog post was written by Ainslie Kwan, Past President, Killarney Community Society.


One of the questions I get the most is: why do you volunteer so much? I get that question the most from my kids as I run out to door to a meeting or to an event.

I guess the simple answer is: because I can. I started with the Killarney Community Centre Society (KCCS) 15 years ago, when my youngest son was in preschool. Someone I knew was on the board and asked me to get involved. Rather than saying “I’m too busy,” I thought, “I have some time, maybe I can make a difference.”

Killarney is my community; it is where my husband and I are raising our family. My three boys have attended preschool, elementary school and now high school here. When I walk into the community centre, I see someone I know every single time.

I am extremely proud of the work the KCCS does, even though many people who use the centre may not know what we do. We have raised funds for the much-needed Senior’s Centre in South East Vancouver. We fund many initiatives for the youth, provide affordable before and after school care for the kids in our community, and work with the Park Board staff to bring great programming to our centre. We are the hub of the community.

The last number of years have been very difficult as we have tried numerous times to get a Joint Operating Agreement with the Park Board. I have seen this take a toll on our board members, since so much of our time goes into trying to get an agreement that works for our community instead of what we volunteered to do – to help make our community centre the best place it can be.

There have been many times that I have thought this is not worth it. When I spend entire Saturdays away from my family to work on this agreement and we take one step forward and two steps back, I think: “What am I doing?”

Why do I keep going? Because I know in my heart that if we don’t see this JOA process through to the end, our community will lose out. Our youth will lose their dragon boat team and the scholarships we provide, the seniors service we help fund will be in jeopardy, and people won’t know what they are missing until it is gone.

I keep going because when I walk into the centre and hear, “Hi Mrs. Kwan,” and I see one of the youth that I have known since they were in preschool, I know I can’t let them down. They may not know why what I am doing matters right now but someday they will. If I can inspire just one person to care about their community as much as I care about mine, all of the time and effort is worth it.

My community is worth it.

Ainslie Kwan

Past President – Killarney Community Society