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'Nothing more rewarding than using your skills to help others'

Treasurer at Pelham Cares enjoys making a difference and helping others
Susan Mark encourages people to use the skills their have developed to help out a local community group.

After she retired, Susan Mark was looking for the right place to volunteer. She wanted to put the skills she developed over her career to help people and help the community.

“I thought it would be nice,” she said.

One day, with her husband, the pair decided to start volunteering with Pelham Cares. They started with the driver assist program, helping Pelham residents attend medical appointments.

From there, she said, she joined the board of directors at Pelham Cares in 2019, eventually taking up the position of treasurer, where she could really put the skills she developed over her career to use.

Mark began her career working for an accountant before she moved onto manufacturing accounting at two different manufacturing plants.

“That was a very stressful job, but I learned a lot and I developed a lot of skills from that,” she said, “You learn to be flexible and you have to constantly be keeping up on whatever's going on in the industry.”

Those skills came in handy during the pandemic.

“The last few years have been really crazy since the pandemic and all that. We've had to change the way we do business,” said Mark. “We never shut down. We were able to continue serving but we've just had to diversify and be very flexible about what we do.”

As treasurer, she pays bills and collects donations and takes them to the bank, does the statutory reporting for payroll and other items, she explained.

“We, on the board, are constantly reviewing our bylaws and our policies and procedures. There's been a lot of work done lately, on ensuring that we meet all of the different food bank standards. We rely on donations and I'm constantly amazed at the support that we have in the community, and we have a lot of support from the all the different groups.”

Mark is glad to serve on the board, noting she “had the opportunity to make changes to ensure the future of Pelham Cares.”

“Whenever I get upset listening to the news or something, I come in here for a day and you see how much people care and how much people want to make a difference.”

Mark also helps prepare tax returns at the Hope Centre.

“They have a program and I've been doing that for about six years now, and I enjoy that too because that's where I started,” said Mark, joking, “And I can do tax returns in my sleep.”

She encourages others to use their skills to help out at local community groups.

“It's a different feeling being a volunteer versus being an employee,” she said. “You're doing this because you want to and you just feel a lot more benefit from doing it.”

Mark says she keeping volunteering because “it feels like I am making a difference.”

“I would just encourage other people if they feel they have skills to offer that there's nothing more rewarding than being able to use your skills that you've developed and to find a way to help people.”

“I think it's very, very rewarding.”