National Volunteer Week: Kate Bowering

Each day during National Volunteer Week, we will share a story about one of our dedicated volunteers. We are so grateful for the commitment and passion of all volunteers in our great city. Thank you for everything you do!

Today we are profiling Kate Bowering, who has just started volunteering with the Sponsorship Committee.

Why do you volunteer with the Sponsorship Committee?

It answered a question I didn’t even know I had asked myself. I recently came back to work after spending a year on maternity leave with my son. Any new mom knows that it’s one of the most challenging experiences you’ll ever have. It’s confusing and overwhelming, but at the same time, it’s the most important thing I’ve done and gives me the most joy and fulfillment. In the middle of this emotional roller coaster, I started a new job with a new company, trying to establish a new normal for my son, my husband, and myself. Things were chaotic! But there was still something that I couldn’t identify going on – a disconnection of sorts. Once our routine was settled I thought it would go away, but it didn’t. When Harley contacted me and asked me to get involved, it was an ‘aha’ moment. I had been so preoccupied in my own life (and rightfully so) that I was missing the external piece, the piece that connected me to my community.  It feels great to be involved in something bigger than myself and my immediate environment. I guess that’s a selfish answer, but it’s the truth!

Why did you get involved with United Way?

Growing up in rural Newfoundland I didn’t know about the United Way. It wasn’t until I moved to Calgary 9 years ago that I was first introduced to the organization. I was hooked right from my first work-place campaign, where I volunteered to help with the special events. After 2 campaigns of volunteering in various capacities I became the campaign chair, and stayed in that position until I left that company 4 years later. I was also lucky enough to be seconded as a Campaign Associate, where my understanding and respect for the United Way’s work developed very deeply. I always assumed that the people associated with such a community-focused organization would be passionate, but what I didn’t expect was how infectious that passion could be. Through my role, I supported other workplace campaigns, including volunteering with them at various organizations that receive funding from the United Way. Those experiences are the ones that have really stuck with me over the years. I’ll never forget my first time at the Children’s Cottage. We were making lunches for the kids and then had the opportunity to play with them. I remember one little girl who took to me very quickly and how much fun we had, laughing and playing house with the dolls. She was so comfortable with me right away, and even hugged me like she’d known me for years. It brings a smile to my face even now. All that the kids wanted was someone to connect with – I’m so thankful for that experience.