It’s been 10 years since a friend suggested YWCA Brandon would appeal to Shannon Moncur’s motivation to give back to her community.
As a rookie board member, the 64-year-old administrative assistant for Ducks Unlimited in Brandon sat back and soaked in the operational, infrastructural and systemic composition of the organization. After sitting as secretary for a number of years, she gradually assumed the role of president of the board, a position she continues to hold.
“I’ve been president for five years now,” Moncur said. “It seems every time I’ve stepped into a different position, it’s been because somebody was obliged to leave for whatever reason and I’ve had to step into their shoes in the middle of a term. It’s a little unusual.”
Unconventional or not, Moncur’s rise through the executive branch of the YWCA has been spurred by a personal need to lend a hand for a wide spectrum of residents in her community. Contributing to Brandon by volunteering with the local organization – which operates shelter, counseling and other services in the city – is a responsibility she deems important considering the need for such services.
“There’s a huge amount of self-satisfaction in knowing you’re doing something that helps the community you live in,” she said. “The YWCA has been around for more than 100 years and our mandate from the very beginning has been to provide a safe place for people to stay. Knowing this is what we are accomplishing is a wonderful feeling. People who come to the women’s shelter, the transitional shelter or seek other services really have nowhere else to go. This makes Brandon and all of southwest Manitoba a much better place for a lot of people.”
“I think, sometimes, (volunteering) is being an example for other people to follow along beside you." – Shannon Moncur
Professionally, Moncur has worked with Ducks Unlimited for more than three decades. She said she is thinking about retirement, but will not commit to making the leap yet.
“I’m taking it year by year. My dad had a good philosophy about work. He figured that if you’ve always enjoyed going to work, like what you’re doing and the people you’re doing it with, just keep doing what you’re doing,” she said, noting that the same philosophy applies to her work with the YWCA.
“As president, there’s a little more time commitment than a regular board member, but my time is my own. I’m a single person. There is no one waiting for me when I get home. That does play a little into my freedom of time. My time is my own.”
And as far as her long-term dedication to the YWCA board, Moncur says she hopes her work motivates others to pitch in for their community in some way.
“I think, sometimes, (volunteering) is being an example for other people to follow along beside you,” she said. “Sometimes what people want is an example to follow; someone who puts their money where their mouth is.”
YWCA Brandon is a charitable foundation that provides housing and services to people in need through its Meredith Place transitional shelter for people with housing issues, the Westman Women’s Shelter for victims of domestic violence and Peaceful Futures couples counseling services.