For Peggy Makofka, it’s really all about the power of community.
The executive director of Rimbey FCSS is celebrating 30 years with the organization, and it’s been a consistently fulfilling post from the very start.
“I was working at the hospital, and I was a school trustee at the time,” she recalled. “And then this opportunity came up, and it was of interest to me so I applied. My kids were in their early and mid teens at the time, and it just seemed like something that I really wanted to get involved with.”
Shortly after being hired, Makofka studied volunteer management and non-profit agency management at Grant MacEwan University on a part-time basis. “It took a few years, and I’ve been growing with the agency ever since,” she explained.
“I had also been on another board at the time for the learning council, so I had seen what was going on (with FCSS). I knew something of the programs they had and the work that they did,” said Makofaka, who is originally from Summerland, B.C.
She relocated to Rimbey in the early 1970s, and she and her husband live on a farm near town.
As to her work, Makofka said there has really never been a dull moment. “The years have really gone fast, and we’ve been in a definite growth mode ever since I started here. Wben I look back, it’s just been steady growing, and we have new programs going all of the time. I guess it really boils down to the people and the relationships that you build when you do this kind of work.
“I’ve always been surrounded by good people and good staff and volunteers, and our clients – they are so grateful. It’s such rewarding work – you know that you are making a difference,” she said. “I think that’s why it’s been easy to stay!
“The agency’s 40th anniversary is actually in 2022, so we will be celebrating the whole year,” she added. “And that’s another thing about FCSS and this job, is that you get lots of opportunities for celebration and there are so many ways to show gratitude.
“There has been a real freedom as well to do what needs to be done to grow the community,” she added, referring to the wide range of programming that has been offered over the years to meet a variety of needs.
“It’s been an easy job to love. I think I’ve also been blessed with a mind that (sees) the big picture – there are always possibilities,” she said. “I also credit the people that started this organization. The Province actually came out with FCSS in 1966, but it wasn’t until 1982 before Rimbey decided to join on.
“When they did that, home care was just getting rolling and there was a need for supplementary types of programs like housekeeping and volunteer visitors.
“The people of the day also had the foresight to realize that they should set up a non-profit society. That was brilliant in my books, because that allowed them to have a legal entity.”
That in turn has greatly contributed to the success of the organization because it can take on contracts, too, which really helps to bolster sustainability.
There’s also a strong sense of flexibility when it comes to tailoring programs to the community as well.
“If we keep building, and adding pieces here and there, we can add lots of things in,” she said of the services that FCSS provides.
There is also a pretty sizable staff these days, plus about 100 registered and dedicated volunteers who are always willing to lend a helping hand.
“So we have this work force out there that is always waiting to be called!”
Speaking of volunteers, Makofka noted that every program or activity put forward by Rimbey FCSS has a volunteer component to it, right from the board members to those who pack food hampers or deliver meals.
“There are so many ways that volunteers can help and be involved. They are the backbone of the organization,” she added.
“It’s such a heartwarming service and organization to belong to.”