When Amber Zanon moved from Victoria to Terrace in 2007, she was excited to start her career in a smaller community full of potential.
“Terrace felt like a place you could make your own mark,” she says.
In addition to making her mark in her work in property management and business development, Zanon jokes that she’s a bit of a “professional volunteer.” Soon after moving to Terrace she began volunteering with the Terrace Little Theatre, the Terrace Campus Daycare, the Rotary Club and the Terrace Community Band.
“Sometimes I see a great leader, and I jump in because I’m inspired to follow their vision. Sometimes I don’t see great leadership happening and think, ‘Maybe I could help.’ A big part of volunteering is knowing your role — when to lead and when to be a helper.”
At the college daycare Zanon met Michael McFetridge, executive director of the Terrace and District Community Service Society (TDCSS), and soon he’d convinced her to volunteer on the TDCSS board as well.
“Michael and his executive team run this ship, and they do amazing work — it’s really exemplary on so many levels,” Zanon says. “Volunteering for TDCSS is endlessly interesting: the level of complexity, the varied service programs that support all sorts of people in this community, they’re all so important.”
‘Not every town has a TDCSS’
TDCSS is a community organization that serves vulnerable people in Northern BC with a wide range of services, including addiction services, rental assistance, mental health supports, legal assistance and more.
“We should be proud that we have this level of support in Terrace,” Zanon says. “Not every town has a TDCSS.”
The TDCSS board provides feedback on strategic direction and governance, and is always looking for more members.
“We have a great group of people bringing a wide range of experiences, and that’s important to the work that TDCSS does. Not everyone has a professional social work background, but we all contribute,” says Zanon, who is Board Chair.
Volunteer board members can expect to attend one to two meetings each month, depending on the committees they join. It’s important to understand the TDCSS mission and read supporting documents to keep up to date and provide feedback to the executive.
“Sometimes our role is just looking at financials — it’s essential work, though not always exciting. Sometimes we act as a sounding board, as the executive plans a new project or tries to problem solve,” Zanon says. “I have a high level of respect for the executive team. They’re doing amazing work, and it’s an honour to play a small part.”