Desiree Gibson (HS’02, U’07)

Serving the Community, One Meal at a Time

Desiree Gibson’s (HS’02, U’07) aspiration to do “some good in the community” has always guided her in her vocation. From medical technician to office administrator for the Reserves, to working with Native Health Services at the General Hospital, to her current position as Community Manager at REACH (Regina) or volunteering at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, her heart clearly lies in the voluntary sector – both professionally and personally.

After graduating from Luther College High School in 2002, Desiree immediately went into service work. For ten years she worked for the Reserves with 16 (Regina) Field Ambulance, all while completing an undergraduate degree in Psychology, with a Minor in Indigenous Studies, at Luther College at the University of Regina. After convocation in 2007, Desiree spent a year in an administrative position with the Reserves before a brief introduction – in the form of a one-month work posting – at REACH, which she says gave her the opportunity to become acquainted with the organization and to see first-hand the difference it makes to so many individuals in the community. Her time there was cut short, however, when she accepted a position with Native Health Services at the General Hospital (Regina) – which she saw as an opportunity to put her Minor in Indigenous Studies to work.

Desiree was with the General Hospital for two years, working with First Nations patients who had been admitted to ensure that they received the care they deserved during their hospital stay and providing information about the various types of assistance and programs available through Native Health Services.

It wasn’t long, however, before she once again felt the pull to do something more community-minded and when she saw a job posting at REACH, she applied. “I really like what REACH has to offer [Regina residents] and I know that as a part of REACH, I’m making a difference in the community,” she says. An umbrella association, REACH teams up with other organizations to run various programs aimed at ensuring that all Regina residents have access to nutritious and affordable foods. These programs rely almost exclusively on volunteers, and interviewing those volunteers and determining where they are best suited is one of the tasks Desiree enjoys most in her role as Community Manager. “I love getting to see all these good people who want to come volunteer their time. Without them, our programs would not be possible. This job is easy on the soul – you get to see all the good in the world.”

Desiree attributes the success she’s achieved in her current position to hard work and dedication, but also to the knowledge she has of REACH – a base that she says she obtained by “working from the ground up.” Initially hired as a Food Security Worker, she gained first-hand experience of some of REACH’s programs, including the Mobile Stores and the Good Food Box. She continued to work her way up through various roles, until finally landing the position of Community Manager. “Working in so many positions provided me a well-rounded perspective on the organization. I learned a lot in my various positions at REACH, and that helps me be more effective in my role now.”

To anyone who has spent more than five minutes with Desiree, however, there is one other glaringly obvious reason for her success: her passion for helping others. Her infectious excitement for volunteerism and the positive impact it can have on people’s lives is making such a difference not only for the REACH organization, but also for all Regina residents.