BY PAUL REID
Our community is so lucky to have its volunteers. Our spotlight falls this time on Carla Nissen, who recently came to the rescue of the Renfrew-Collingwood Community News.
As you know, we are celebrating our 20th year this year, and a couple of months ago we had a small celebration to mark the occasion. One of the things that happened at that time was that an old stack of hardcopies of the RCC News was brought back to light, having been hiding in a storage locker for nearly a decade.
The old issues really became a hit — people were leafing through them, reminiscing about the stories going back over 20 years. (Our 20 years did not include the precursor “newsletters,” but those were there, too.)
And now, thanks in full to the generosity and hard work of our wonderful volunteer, Carla Nissen, all of those old issues have been scanned, rotated, edited and transported into a digital format to be enjoyed by all for years to come.
Until now, these hardcopies, for the most part, were the only surviving copies of each issue. Soon these digital copies will be uploaded to our website to join the more recent issues.
You may recognize Carla. She has been a friendly face at our local Safeway for the past 17 years. She has also lived in our community for the past 11 years. She has always been interested in giving back.
Carla first began volunteering when she lived in Coquitlam, with the Greater Coquitlam Crisis and Information Line. Following two weeks of intensive training and armed with a big binder full of info, Carla began taking calls. Over three years, she heard a lot.
“It was an amazing feeling, to be there for people in their most vulnerable time, when they had nowhere else to turn.”
Usually, the calls resulted in Carla pointing people in the right direction. “We were not there to try and solve peoples’ problems ourselves.”
Carla liked this work so much, she eventually became a group leader, training others to do this work.
“Working with the other volunteers also made it special. We were all treated very well; we were appreciated, and it was all very touching. We could feel the benefits that we were making in others lives.”
Back in Collingwood, Carla has been volunteering for Collingwood Neighbourhood House for about a year. She started off working at the front desk, but feels she really found her niche in the administration office: making phone calls, stuffing envelopes, and most recently, scanning of the RCC News.
“It took roughly 12 hours to scan and edit everything.”
As volunteers often do, Carla learned some new skills. In this case, she learned to use CNH’s office scanner; also Adobe Acrobat. “I also used Google to answer some questions, such as how to rotate pages in Acrobat.
“It was exciting for me to go through the old issues. I saw pictures of friends, stories about my workplace (Safeway). I sent some stories over to friends, via my phone. They were delighted to see them. I sent one to a co-worker who had been mentioned in the old Rants and Raves column.
She couldn’t believe it.
“When I saw the posting for archiving, I was so excited. I had been reading the paper for years and years and I thought, what better way to help my community than to make this available. Overall, it was an interesting and fulfilling experience.”
On behalf of the RCC News and the RC community: Thank you Carla Nissen.
Copyright 2018 Renfrew-Collingwood Community News