November 5, 2021

Giving Back in Retirement

For some people, retirement is not just a time for rest and leisure, but a time to do important work that gives back to the community. ARTA member Belinda Hague worked as a teacher in Boyle, Alberta for 32 years before retiring in 2011. Now she volunteers her time for the Boyle Healthcare Auxiliary, a local charity dedicated to improving the lives of both patients and hospital staff through fundraising and donations.

Not long after her retirement from teaching, Belinda got a job at the hospital in Boyle. “I wanted to continue to work a little bit, doing something a little different from teaching,” she says. “I got a job doing registration at the hospital, and that’s where it all started.”

From her new role, Belinda could see a lot of the hospital’s inner workings, including the purchases that were coming in from the Boyle Healthcare Auxiliary. She quickly got a sense for the kind of work they did, and not long before she was ready to retire full-time, she was approached by a friend, one who happened to be an Auxiliary member.

“She asked me to come to one Auxiliary meeting to see what it was all about, and I guess I just kept on going,” says Belinda. “I saw all the worthwhile things that the organization was doing for patients, and I thought, if I’m going to donate my time to something in retirement, it should be doing something like this, something that really helps people.”

Belinda learned just how much the Auxiliary does to improve the healthcare experience in Boyle. They have purchased necessary medical equipment, put TVs in patients’ rooms, decorated the walls with paintings, outfitted the palliative care facilities for visitors, and so much more. Right before the COVID-19 pandemic, they even completed construction on an outdoor patio, a project several years in the making. The well-timed opening allowed patients and families to meet and spend time together while remaining safe.

Since that first meeting, the Auxiliary has become a pretty big part of Belinda’s life. She’s helped with fundraising efforts, helped spread the word of the Auxiliary’s efforts to young people in the community, and in February 2021 she was even elected president of the Auxiliary. “I’ve got a great team behind me, so the role isn’t too time-consuming,” says Belinda. “And now that I’m retired, I have the time to give. It makes sense to me to use that time to improve my community.”

The Boyle Healthcare Auxiliary’s next big project is to purchase a transport ventilator for patients who need to be moved to more specialized facilities in the city. To help raise money for it, they’re gearing up for their Christmas fundraising campaign. For Belinda and her fellow retired Auxiliary members, there is no better way to celebrate the season.