BY STARR CUNNINGHAM
Shirley-Anne Williams is a mother to three, grandmother to six and a great grandmother to one. She looks at each day as a blessing and strives to share that message with others.
“I wanted to find a way to give back and for me that’s volunteering,” says Shirley-Anne.
Shirley-Anne is a past recipient of a Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia’s Vision Award. She received our Volunteer of the Year accolade for giving so much of her time and talent to our cause. Over the years, Shirley-Anne has volunteered at many of our events. From BMO presents A Different Stage of Mind to our annual Compass Group Canada Festival of Trees, Shirley-Anne is always one of the first volunteers to sign-up and one of the last to leave!
“Shirley-Anne is pleasant, thorough and great at coming up with new ideas for streamlining our event processes,” says Sara Smysniuk. As the Foundation’s Finance Lead, Sara is always happy to have Shirley-Anne by her side at events. “She’s a take charge kind of volunteer,” Sara says with a smile.
While Shirley-Anne is now retired, she’s not showing any signs of slowing down. That’s obviously great news for us here at the Foundation, but it’s also essential for her.
Why? Research tells us being active and staying social are key to mental wellness. In fact, social connections are a fundamental factor to optimal aging and overall health.
When you consider what it takes to be a volunteer, you can’t help but notice the correlation between mental wellness and sharing your time. When Shirley-Anne joins us for Festival of Trees she is surrounded by positive people, she’s being socially and physically active, she’s putting her brain to work and, most importantly, she’s doing something that makes her feel fulfilled and grateful.
Simply put, we couldn’t do what we do without our volunteers and we welcome Nova Scotians of all ages to join us. From our youngest (a 6-year-old runner in the Blue Nose Marathon Charity Challenge) all the way up to some of our oldest (dedicated members of the Nova Scotia RCMP Veteran’s Association well into their golden years) – our volunteers are changing the way people think!
“If you can help someone along the way then you’re doing the right thing,” says Shirley-Anne. “I’ve been blessed and I believe in passing along blessings to others.”
Here’s to Shirley-Anne Williams and ALL of our amazing Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia volunteers, on this National Volunteer Week!