Volunteers helping volunteers

Pay It Forward

Payworks Product Support Specialist Cheryl Costen first started volunteering for the Winnipeg Folk Festival back in 2014. Over the past six years, she’s dedicated a weekend every year to helping the event run through various volunteer roles - until 2020. The 47th Winnipeg Folk Festival was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and in its place a virtual version of the festival was held on July 11. Cheryl was heartened to be an attendee of the virtual event this year and is awaiting the opportunity to volunteer again in-person in 2021.

For today's Pay it Forward story, we share Cheryl's 2019 volunteer experience with the Winnipeg Folk Festival and the way volunteers sign on to help their fellow volunteers.

“I chose this for my Pay it Forward Day because I love music and I love this festival," Cheryl shared. "It engages the community in an accessible and respectful environment. It's a meeting of so many wonderful people and it supports local musicians, restaurateurs and artisans.”

Payworks’ Pay it Forward Day is an employee benefit that enables staff to donate their time and skills to a not-for-profit charitable organization of their choosing. It's a great way for staff to give back to an organization that exemplifies something they're passionate about while also doing good in their local community. On July 15, 2019, Cheryl did just that. 

The Winnipeg Folk Festival is a non-profit arts organization with folk music at its heart. Presenting dozens of concerts and events throughout the year and community support through outreach programs, their biggest event of the year is a four-day music festival at Bird’s Hill Park which showcases artists from around the world.

In 2019, Cheryl volunteered with the Winnipeg Folk Festival for the sixth consecutive year. Previously, her volunteer efforts involved doing meal prep in the back-stage open-air kitchen where more than 3,000 volunteers are fed. In 2019, her duties changed as she joined the "striker crew." That meant Cheryl was involved in both setting up and taking down that back-stage kitchen. One of the unique aspects about volunteering for the Winnipeg Folk Festival is that those with a minimum number of volunteer hours receive a pass to the festival - including meals prepared by even more volunteers!

For Cheryl's Pay it Forward Day, her striker crew duties included putting away all of the kitchen supplies that had been used in the meal prep during the festival. She also cleaned and took down tables, helped cleaned the commercial fridges, disposed of compost, swept and washed floors, and transported supplies up and down stairs to the storage area. Her portfolio of duties was quite large.

Without its thousands of volunteers, the 2019 Festival wouldn’t be possible. Thanks to Cheryl for being a dedicated volunteer!

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