When Manjit Kang first retired after a long career with TELUS and moved to the Sunshine Coast in 2008, one of the first things he did was to search for a meaningful opportunity to give back to his new community.
“I was eager to get involved. It didn’t have to be with anyone in particular, but making an impact locally was important to me,” he explains.
That’s when he found the TELUS Community Ambassadors program, and he’s never looked back.
“For someone looking to get involved, it was a natural place to land,” says Kang, now president of the Sunshine Coast TELUS Community Ambassadors.
For decades now, the TELUS Community Ambassadors program has been connecting like-minded TELUS team members and retirees across Canada with a shared history and a passion for giving back to their communities.
Today, with more than 5,000 members in 23 clubs nationally, the program empowers individuals to live the TELUS philosophy of “give where we live” through a volunteer club structure that provides much-needed volunteer services to local organizations and causes. The program also serves as a vital social connection for those who share a common interest in giving back. Critically, TELUS matches the hours volunteers contribute by providing donations to the charities of their choosing.
In fact, visit any community organization along the Sunshine Coast, and chances are you’ll stumble upon a TELUS Community Ambassador lending a helping hand. This includes the Sunshine Coast Botanical Garden, the Sunshine Coast Foundation, the Sunshine Coast Credit Union, BC Ferries, St. Bart’s food bank and the Sechelt Seniors Centre. They also help distribute Knitted Knockers breast prosthetics for cancer survivors and have packed hundreds upon hundreds of Kits for Kids – school supplies for local kids.
“We’re part of a charitable ecosystem on the Sunshine Coast,” explains Kang of the program’s local chapter, which has been active in the region since the 1980s.
Making a difference in the community
The work of the Community Ambassadors is as diverse as it is meaningful. In Powell River, a group of 20 retired women with an interest in knitting began producing “knitted knockers”—a homemade breast prosthesis for women who have undergone mastectomies. The Ambassadors got involved by providing funds for the wool, and by distributing the products throughout the Sunshine Coast and in Vancouver. Today, over 1,000 pairs have been handed out to women in need.
It’s no secret TELUS believes in building a better future for all Canadians by using its technology for good and giving back to the communities in which it operates. TELUS’ social purpose is at the heart of everything it does. As a world-leading technology company, it’s a deeply embedded corporate mindset that continues to set the tech company apart from others.
Whether it’s providing mobile phones and plans for at-risk youth and low-income seniors, powering mobile health clinics to bring medical care directly to people in need, or providing customized tech solutions to better enable Canadians with disabilities to live independently and stay connected, TELUS gives back to the community.
Yet despite all the resources and energy TELUS puts behind these efforts, there is perhaps no better measure of the company’s commitment to social purpose than the work of the TELUS Community Ambassadors.
“The Ambassadors program became a big part of my life the moment my partner and I moved to the Sunshine Coast,” says Sheila Carlson. “One of my fondest memories was sewing about 100 cloth bags with a couple of friends, complete with the TELUS Community Ambassador logo, filling them with supplied toiletries, and delivering them to the Salvation Army in Gibsons. They were delighted, as they were the only place for cold weather sheltering in those days.”
TELUS is proud to help carry on the tradition of community engagement by supplying volunteers with the tools and resources they need to give back, including the van TELUS Ambassador Greg Carter uses to deliver groceries to local food banks, take people to medical appointments, and even bring stuffed animals to the local fire departments to distribute to children in need of support.
“I’ve also used it to take people to medical appointments here on the Coast and in Vancouver,” says Carter. “I once loaded it with used wheelchairs and walkers that were headed to the dump, but, with the help of others, eventually made it to rural Mexico where they were sorely needed. A little truly can go a long way —literally.”
“We’re not looking for notoriety, but we’re always looking for new volunteers,” says Carlson. “The Sunshine Coast Community Ambassadors are just members of this community who enjoy making a difference in peoples’ lives. So if you’re reading this, please give us a call.”
To learn more about the TELUS Community Ambassadors program, and how you can participate, please go to telus.com/community.