Slider Image
Please note that this blog post may cover products or topics that were current at the time of publication, but may have changed since then.
Visit the "All our products" section to find out more.

Community involvement: Written in UNI employees' DNA

Posted on Monday July 19, 2021

Community involvement: Written in UNI employees' DNA

Whether through donations, sponsorships or volunteer hours, UNI's commitment to the community is clear. All employees are encouraged to participate in collective efforts to enhance the community. With a lifetime of social involvement under her belt, Christel Mallet is happy to share her experience with us.

Why get in involved in the community?

Each person has their own reasons for joining an organization or volunteering, from developing a network of contacts, contributing to social progress, playing a sport, improving job prospects or what have you. In Canada, volunteering is a major contributor to community well-being and the Canadian economy. Statistics Canada estimates that total volunteering nationwide is equivalent to more than 2.5 million full-time jobs.

Choosing a cause

"Engagement is the lifeblood of a community. It's what makes it live and thrive," Christel says. "Without people giving back, so many community projects, infrastructure works and festivals celebrating our culture would never be possible."

With all the causes out there in need of hands-on help, how do you choose? For Christel, it's all about doing what you love! "My only criterion is to listen to my heart and to be inspired by projects that have a positive impact on the community. For example, if I've personally benefited from an organization's activities in the past, I often feel like I want to give back. And that's exactly what happened with the Shippagan Ice Carnival, which I now serve as a volunteer. I also think my interests will change as I get older. When I have children, I'll definitely be very involved with their school and sports teams."

Christel encourages everyone to follow her example. When people do what they can to get involved in their local area, communities develop and grow in ways that serve the interests of those who live there.

Following in her father's footsteps

Engagement is the lifeblood of a community. It's what makes it live and thrive - Christel Mallet

As a young girl, Christel spent a lot of time with her father, a Shippagan town councillor who was also very involved in the community. It was he who gave her the volunteer bug! Christel has been president of the UNI Head Office Employees Association for the past year, in addition to serving as vice president of the Shippagan Ice Carnival and helping out with the Fisheries and Aquaculture Festival. She has also served on the Centre-ville Caraquet board of directors. Each month, Christel gives 2 or 3 hours of her time to various organizations, but plays a much more active role in events.

Not everyone is as involved as Christel, but the outlook for volunteering among Canadians is encouraging. In all, 41% of New Brunswickers take part in structured volunteering, giving an average of 131 hours per year. Some of the most popular volunteer activities include organizing events, raising money and serving on committees. According to Statistics Canada, 18% of Canadians helped organize, supervise or coordinate activities or events, while 16% helped an organization raise money and 13% served on a board or committee.

UNI's role in its employees' community engagement

As a cooperative, UNI is committed to contributing to the prosperity and vitality of its members and clients. Through various donations and sponsorships, it participates in the sustainable development of the community. For example, UNI recently supported Dialogue NB's Social Cohesion Lab for Youth and supports the Southeast Social Pediatric Centre to foster the healthy development of New Brunswick children.

According to Christel, the social engagement committees at various UNI business locations bring together teams that are mobilized and motivated to help the community. Obviously, giving back is a whole lot easier with your employer's support! That's why UNI offers the equivalent of a full day of volunteer work per year to each of its 900 employees. "This seven-hour bank allows employees who are short on time to get involved if they want to."

The value of volunteering

In 2020 UNI contributed $1.6 million in donations, sponsorships and scholarships. It supported some 600 organizations in a variety of fields including education, health, culture and economic development.

"A volunteer is always welcomed with open arms," Christel says. "I've also noticed that people are more and more interested in volunteering, and I'm happy about that. For example, I saw a lot of new faces in the municipal elections. That's the kind of observation that makes me want to get more involved."

The value of a smiling face and a close-knit community can't be measured! That's why cash donations are matched with volunteer hours – ​all with the goal of building a resilient and thriving community.

You might also like :

How young people can help their community during the pandemic
Financial cooperatives: An economic powerhouse for communities
Socially responsible investment: What is it?

For more information

Contact us
Make an appointment