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Kinetic - Volunteer Energy in Motion

Guest blog by Katrina Palad, Red Cross volunteer

Chatting with Cheryl Wauthier reminded me of two terms that I learned from an Intro to Physics class: Potential Energy and Kinetic Energy. Essentially, potential energy is whatever energy a body has stored in itself when it is at rest. This energy is converted into kinetic energy when an outside force acts on the body and sets it into motion. When Cheryl joined the Red Cross, I like to think that all the potential energy she had in herself to do great things was released, became kinetic, and hasn’t stopped moving since.
 
Cheryl Wauthier, pictured on the rightEverything started in 2008 when Cheryl, pictured on the right, became the manager of the Vecova Recreation Centre. Her past experience training cadets in the Canadian Armed Forces and working with people with disabilities made her the perfect candidate for the position. However, she felt that she needed more training to familiarize herself with the services that the recreation centre offered. Thus began her relationship with the Red Cross.
 
Cheryl first took courses like the Red Cross HIGH FIVE® Affiliate Trainer Course. However, she found herself wanting to immerse deeper into the culture of water safety. What started out as merely a way to get information soon developed into a passion. With the interest of playing a more active role, she signed up as a volunteer. “At that time, I just told them ‘hey you know what, if you ever need help with anything, just let me know.’”
 
The “help with anything” initially translated to helping set up various conferences held by the Red Cross. It was during one of these conferences that sparked Cheryl to initiate the development of an adapted swim program.
 
Cheryl, pictured middleOne of the issues at that time was the increase in drowning incidents of children with disabilities. A program that would address their needs needed to be developed. Armed with her training and extensive experience, she approached Red Cross and offered her services. This led to the gathering of a dynamic team of individuals who, for the next four years, would develop the Red Cross Swim for Swimmers with Disabilities.
“For all of us, it was so fulfilling to see the program, to see the training implemented across the country.”
 
Eight years into her career as a volunteer for the Red Cross, Cheryl’s kinetic energy remains constant. She continues to work in water safety as a Red Cross Swim Adapted Facilitator. At the same time, Cheryl has taken on other roles such as media representative and volunteer conference planning committee member. She also recently joined the farm and rural educators group. When asked about the future, she says, “There’s still so many areas that I want to explore. Giving back to the community has become so important to me. I just want to continue to do this.”

photos courtesy of J. Keith Howie
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