With their community fundraising activities suspended due to COVID-19, Pre-Service Firefighter students are finding new ways to support charities and non-profits in the region.
With their usual fundraising activities on hold due to COVID-19, Pre-Service Firefighter students offered to help with this year's Wonders of Winter light display in Waterloo Park.
“It’s been a long-time practice for our Pre-Service Firefighter students to participate in fundraising throughout their time in the program,” said program coordinator Brad Kueneman. “At the end of the program, the class typically presents a cheque to their chosen charity at a graduation banquet. Given the current pandemic restrictions, fundraising has become significantly more challenging to do, but our students are finding alternate ways to give back to their community.”
Wonders of Winter, an annual festival of lights held in Waterloo Park, includes more than 100 light displays that require over 100,000 light bulbs. David Hollinger, a Conestoga graduate and event coordinator with Wonders of Winter, said Conestoga Pre-Service Firefighter volunteers helped set up the light displays which involve more than 245 parts. The volunteers unloaded displays, prepared the ground support stakes and secured displays in place.
The festival is led by a larger group of volunteers who begin the set-up process in September and October with electrical checks and repairs. Tens of thousands of visitors are expected to visit the park, but Hollinger believes the work will be appreciated even more than usual this year given the pandemic.
"The park has been extremely busy during the days as families are trying to get out and the weather has been amazing,” said Hollinger. “We believe this will give us a banner year for attendance as people really need to have some joy.”
Kueneman said he’s proud of students for getting involved and helping out the community.
“This is one of many examples of how this class has been contributing to their community,” added Kueneman. “They’ve also spent countless hours assisting the House of Friendship with a special project, and have dropped off donuts and coffee at a long-term care facility in Waterloo Region on more than one occasion to cheer everyone up in these difficult times.”
Wonders of Winter opens November 28 and runs until January 1.
The Pre-Service Firefighter Education and Training program provides strong pre-service preparation for individuals seeking a career with today’s and tomorrow’s fire services. Conestoga’s curriculum provides the knowledge, skills and professional development for success as a fire services recruit, and the foundation for further career progression opportunities in this important area of public safety.
For more information, visit the program page.