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Community involvement: Written in UNI employees' DNA

Posted on Monday December 05, 2022

Community involvement: Written in UNI employees' DNA

Serving the community is one of our main missions. UNI is committed to helping our communities thrive and prosper  by giving donations and sponsorships, providing support for local businesses and promoting forward-thinking, transformative and sustainable projects!

Volunteering plays an important role in our initiatives. We encourage all our staff to get involved with organizations that are important to them, and it’s in recognition of their commitment and dedication that the Volunteer of the Year program was created.

This year, Lison Guignard, a mortgage specialist for the Acadian Peninsula, won the Volunteer of the Year award for her involvement with Operation Red Nose in the Acadian Peninsula.

The Volunteer of the Year award also benefits the recipient’s organization of choice

Not just anyone can become Volunteer of the Year! It’s a tight race among the many generous and dedicated people we have the pleasure of working with in our co-operative. To earn the title, you have to submit an application, make it into the group of finalists for your region—Northeast, Northwest and Southeast New Brunswick—then win the final vote of all your colleagues in the province.

Three awards are presented through our program. The winner receives $5,000, to be given to the organization that person supports, while the other two finalists each receive $2,000.

The crowning achievement of a 35-plus-year career

Lison couldn’t be more excited and proud to be awarded first prize in the 2022 edition of the program.

“Volunteering has always been part of my life,” she says. “I’ve always been involved in various causes, including Salon du livre de la Péninsule acadienne (the Acadian Peninsula book fair), reading for children, the regional hospital foundation or Operation Red Nose, where I have been treasurer of the Board of Directors for the past seven years. It warms my heart that I won because my peers voted for me!”

A UNI employee for more than 35 years, Lison puts her energy and positive attitude to good use on the social and activity committees that bring her team together. “Being named volunteer of the year is like the icing on the cake of my career. It’s an honour and a wonderful reward to top off everything I’ve done.”

Volunteering is rewarding!

What does Lison get out of her community involvement? “I’m a very social person, and volunteering allows me to meet people from different backgrounds, make new friends and create a diverse network of contacts. I’ve met many interesting people I probably would never have known without volunteering!”

Knowing you’re making a difference in others’ lives also boosts self-esteem. “Volunteering is a great way to pay it forward. It affects everyone’s lives, and I believe it benefits both the giver and the receiver. It prevents isolation and helps me stay active and feel useful. For me and my spouse, it’s a way of life.”

The team spirit at Operation Red Nose

The main reason Lison has been involved for several years now with Operation Red Nose in the Acadian Peninsula is because she fell in love with the team. “I quickly became fond of everyone on the committee. It’s a great group of people who mean a lot to me.”

People who use Operation Red Nose’s safe ride services during the holidays don’t have to pay anything: It’s all free. Donations raised by the organization are given to local initiatives, such as Club Richelieu de la Péninsule acadienne, a youth-focused foundation.

A family united for its community

For Lison, UNI’s impact on the community is vital. “I became more interested in volunteering when I started working for UNI. I saw people around me being involved and it inspired me to do the same. We’re like a family whose values revolve around giving back. Without volunteering, the community would be worse off, and UNI really gets that.”

To encourage volunteerism, we have two other initiatives  that are currently active or that will soon be up and running, besides the “Volunteer of the Year” program.

A pool of volunteer hours

Every year, each of our employees has a seven-hour pool of paid time to volunteer for the cause of their choice. It’s one way for us to give the gift of time to a community organization or activity.

Solidarity Day

This initiative was born out of our dream to bring together as many UNI team members as possible each year for the same regional environmental cause. It is a true gift from everyone involved.

The health of our communities depends on its citizens being involved. Congratulations to all the participants and especially to Lison Guignard for her dedication and contagious enthusiasm! Let’s all follow their example—mutual support and solidarity are necessary for our society to thrive.

You might also like :

Dialogue NB: Fostering social cohesion in New Brunswick
UNI and Operation Red Nose: Getting into the holiday spirit safely!
Community involvement: Written in UNI employees' DNA

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