A local lawyer spends most of her volunteer hours as president of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, BC & Yukon division.
"I'm in my first year of a two-year term," said Roberta Stewart, a lawyer with Heather Sadler Jenkins in Prince George. Her practice includes corporate/commercial transactions and loans, residential conveyancing, wills and estate planning, and estates.
Stewart started volunteering about seven years ago when the MS Society was looking for a local law firm to be a contact for their volunteer legal advocacy program.
"I was an associate at the time and I was volun-told to do it, which is really good, right?" laughed Stewart. As she met with the president of the society at the time, Stewart was told the society was also looking for board members from the north and, because of her skill set, she knew she'd be a good fit and accepted the invitation.
"It really was a no-brainer, it's such a great organization and I've learned over the years that it's run by great people and has great leadership," said Stewart, who added when her term as president is up, she will step down from the board as determined by their bylaws.
The MS Society board has gone through some shifts over the last couple of years and it used to be more of a governance board and now it's becoming more of a community facing board, explained Stewart.
"So my role as chair in the past year and the year going forward is kind of helping them through that transition," said Stewart.
So now the society board is focused on fundraising, community events and advocacy.
"The MS Walk takes place May 28 and the A&W Burgers to Beat MS in August are our main fundraising initiatives," said Stewart.
And looking for government support for the society is also part of that drive.
"Developing government relations is always a lot of fun during an election year," said Stewart. "So it's all about advocating for people who are affected by MS, looking at accessibility and improved Pharmacare. Those are some of the priorities the government relations committee is working on."
Stewart attends board meetings in Vancouver about three times a year. The rest are done by teleconference.
Stewart volunteers on other boards as well, including the Chamber of Commerce and Partnerships B.C.
"Oh, and I've just recently been appointed to the UNBC's advisory board on advancement," said Stewart. The advancement board supports the university's fundraising efforts.
"I believe as lawyers we do have a certain skill set and we should be involved in our community," said Stewart. "The better Prince George does, the better we all do."
Flip through The Citizen's Volunteer City series, featuring stand-out volunteers in Prince George: