Like so many other people, Jackie Pride arrived in Fort McMurray with “little money, hopes for work, and no place to live.” Six years later, she is happily working at Suncor as a Building Services Coordinator focusing on what they call Non-Productive Assets. In other words, she works with a team of contractors that provide custodial services for the hundreds of buildings that populate Suncor’s main site.
Her exposure to the United Way campaign began three years ago.
I was working for a contractor on Suncor site and was asked to help raise money for the United Way,” she recalled. “Myself and some coworkers did some 50/50 raffles and attended a small event in town. At that point, I knew that the monies raised did go back into the community, but was not fully educated on all the organizations or programs.
In 2013, as a Suncor employee, she accepted an events coordinator role and went on her first Seeing Is Believing tour.
“We visited the Multicultural Association, HIV North and the Salvation Army,” she said. “Joan (from Salvation Army) was awesome and it really touched me to see all they had to offer. Seeing what they provided was comforting, knowing that some poor soul will have food, clothing and a warm place to sleep and perhaps be helped back on their feet.”
Jackie understands all too well why these agencies are so important.
“When I moved to Fort McMurray six-and-a-half years ago, if I had only known of these organizations, I’m sure we would have used some of their programs. For the first three nights we slept in our 13-year-old van at Rotary Park. We met some really nice people who offered a 16-foot travel trailer to stay in until we could find something else. Life was not easy for both of us. I have worked hard all my life and knew this place was just another journey and that it would eventually pay off.”
Proud to be part of the Suncor United Way team again this year, Jackie has expanded her knowledge and appreciation of our member agencies, visiting Pastew Place, Centre of Hope, Boys and Girls Club, Justin Slade Youth Foundation, YMCA, Children’s Centre, Golden Years Society, Some Other Solutions and Mark Amy Treatment Centre.
“Being so inspired the previous year, I felt I needed to learn more about the United Way and get involved more,” she shared. “I wanted to be part of the success story and to know that my volunteer work will and does make a difference. I wanted the chance once again to spread the word and educate as many people as I could.”
Jackie is a passionate and resolute champion of the United Way and our member agencies. She’s also a big fan of the video versions of the Seeing Is Believing tours we released earlier this fall.
“What an awesome job that was done on the Seeing Is Believing tour videos featuring the Salvation Army, Stepping Stones and SOS,” she said. “They really had an impact in our groups here at Suncor. We have shown them at our toolbox meetings, safety meetings and managers’ meetings and the reactions of the people that watch them are just amazing. I have to admit that the first 6 times I watched them, I could not control the tears.”
“I think I have it under control now,” she laughs. “Meanwhile, I will wait patiently for new videos, as I think they are definitely the way to go. What a great way to raise awareness and to touch many more people.”
Since I met Jackie on the launch day of the Suncor campaign, she has joined our Community Investment Committee, and continues to work with hundreds of volunteers in her workplace to achieve their participation and fundraising goal.
“Today we reached the mid-way point in our Suncor campaign and celebrated with another amazing event,” she recalled. “We all had fun, raised lots of awareness and also raised funds to help support our community. I am so excited to continue on this journey with the United Way and can’t wait to see what a difference we can make.”