Go back


NNSL Logo .
 Email this articleE-mail this story  Discuss this articleOrder a classified ad Print window Print this page

Volunteer extraordinaire

Paul Bickford
Northern News Services
Monday, May 28, 2007

HAY RIVER - Even among the many volunteers in the NWT, Thalie McDougall stands out for her dedication.

McDougall volunteers 30 hours a week - six hours each workday - in the library of Hay River's Harry Camsell school.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Thalie McDougall has been honoured as Harry Camsell school's volunteer of the year. - Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

"That's what keeps me going," she said, explaining she has health issues, such as allergies, asthma and arthritis. "It keeps my mind off my aches and pains."

For her efforts, she was named the school's volunteer of the year in late April.

She was surprised by the award she received at an assembly to honour the school's approximately 80 volunteers.

McDougall said she enjoys volunteering in the library, and that the school's staff and students are all great. "You can't ask for better people to work with."

They offer her a lot of support, she added. "They always encourage me. That counts a lot."

Her volunteer work involves such things as checking books in and out of the library, keeping the shelves in order and organizing the couple of hundred of new books that arrive each year.

McDougall first started working part-time in a campus library while attending Aurora College in Fort Smith.

"I've always been interested in libraries and I love reading when I have the time," she said.

She has been at the Harry Camsell library for five years. The first two years were paid under government assistance programs.

Once that funding ended, McDougall, who is on income support, stayed on as a volunteer.

"The school needs the library open," she said, as the students get encouragement to read and help looking for books.

Before coming to Hay River, McDougall lived for seven years in Fort Smith.

She grew up in Toronto, but was born in France and came to Canada with her parents when she was six.

She first came north to visit a friend in Fort Smith and liked it. In addition, she said the Northern climate is good for her allergies and asthma.

McDougall, who has lived in Hay River for 11 years, also occasionally helps out during the summer at the public library in Hay River.

"Sometimes when I'm not working here, I'll help out there for an hour or two," she said, while sitting in the Harry Camsell School library.

In the past, she has also volunteered at the Hay River Soup Kitchen and at the Thrift Store.