Christine's award 2
Christine, third from the left, among various dignitaries with Liz Deschesnes, far right, Director of Community Services at Semiahmoo House Society.

Christine Collison is a generous member of our community who serves as a volunteer on many initiatives aimed at improving the quality of life of vulnerable people or those in transition.

Christine has been volunteering with Semiahmoo House Society for the last 11 years. Semiahmoo House Society is a non-profit organization that provides services to people with developmental disabilities and their families in Surrey and White Rock. Christine’s services to people with disabilities are diverse and include accompanying them to volunteer at the local Thrift Store or animal shelter, taking them to the swimming pool, going for walks, teaching quilting, arts and crafts and taking them on field trips.

Christine never refuses an assignment; she gladly participates in any way she is needed.
The staff of Semiahmoo House Society report that it is wonderful to work with Christine. She’s respectful, considerate, dependable and reliable. They really miss her when she is away and always look forward to her returning to work. The people for whom she volunteers appreciate her companionship as she is engaging and genuinely committed to making shared experiences that are positive and helpful. She greets and includes everyone and is truly a friend that they like to have amongst them.

Christine cares about the people she serves and takes the necessary steps to ensure their physical and emotional wellbeing. She has a wonderful sense of humour and is quick to share a laugh, which is a wonderful attribute in any situation, particularly when working with people with developmental disabilities. When she goes on vacation, she stays connected with the people she supports by emailing them her travel itinerary and by sharing stories and photographs.

Beyond Semiahmoo House Society, Christine co-directs the chorale music program at Mt. Lehman United Church, where her husband serves as Pastor. In the Abbotsford community, she is involved in a group that applied for and received a grant to organize a support program for caregivers of all ages. The group is named “Side By Side” and members meet monthly to share information about promoting the wellbeing of caregivers and providing necessary support.

In addition, she is involved with Vancouver based Kingcrest International Neighbours, which is an outreach group that meets at the First United Mennonite Church. As part of their work, Neighbours provide English language classes, develop connections with new immigrants and help by referring them to services. The group presently works with 80 families.

By all accounts, Christine’s volunteer work is highly valued by and individuals. “She quite a woman”, says Dorothy Gurney, Volunteer Coordinator at Semiahmoo House Society. “She makes a real difference in many communities by enriching the lives of the people she touches. She deserves to be recognized for her work.”

By Louise Tremblay, Director of Development at UNITI

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