Sidney resident Judy Beinder takes a break on the waterfront. She’s the winner of the Hearts of the Community Award for overall service to the community.

Sidney resident Judy Beinder takes a break on the waterfront. She’s the winner of the Hearts of the Community Award for overall service to the community.

Making the Peninsula a better place

Judy Beinder wins the overall service to the community award at the 2012 Hearts of the Community Awards on Feb. 16

Variety is the spice of life for one Peninsula volunteer.

Judy Beinder holds her eight-year volunteer position with Sidney Sendial program at Thrifty Foods, she’s done voluntary peer counselling for five years, and three year stints with Best Babies and Woodwynn Farm.

She offered her home for a garage sale to raise funds for scholarships through the Canadian Federation of University Women Saanich Peninsula and served as president for the group for two years.

“I volunteer because I really like volunteering. I like giving back,” Beinder said. “I’ve had some advantages and I don’t need anything myself. I have time and I don’t like just sitting around.”

That variety earned Beinder the Hearts of the Community Award for overall service to the community.

“Judy retired in 1998 after a career of teaching with the Saanich school district and began her second career, unpaid, as a volunteer,” said nominator Donna Miller, president of the local CFUW.

“While serving as president of the CFUW for two years, she demonstrated leadership skills by involving members in raising money on International Women’s Day for PEERS [a resource group for sex trade workers].

“Judy’s smiling face and friendly manner are a welcome sight in her various community involvements and her positive attitude and generosity of spirit are valued by all who know her.”

In Seniors Serving Seniors peer counselling program, she got to see first-hand her efforts doing good.

“We had to take a 10 or 12 week course and make a commitment for one year. Well, I did it for three years and really, really enjoyed it,” she said.

“It’s helping seniors, which I am one myself, but I am still an able senior. … Every person I went in with I knew I helped.”

In December, she was forced to cut back in her volunteer hours after a “heart event.” The Sendial program at Sidney Thrifty Foods, where volunteers shop for shut-ins, continues to be on her schedule.

“I really, really enjoy that a lot,” she said. “I guess I’ve always been a helper person.”