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Tuesday, 19 April 2011 13:40

Young B.C. woman travels to Calgary to volunteer at the EcoStore

Travelling from White Rock, B.C., recent home-schooled graduate Rachel McGown came to Calgary to volunteer at the EcoStore, having never lived away from home before.

McGown was placed at the EcoStore, a retail store selling items catered towards sustainable living by Katimavik, an organization that involves youth in volunteer experiences. Although the EcoStore is a retail store, all revenue made there goes towards Green Calgary, a non-profit organization, in order to fund things such as programs like Healthy Homes Calgary.

Rachel McGown poses inside the EcoStore. She moved to Calgary from White Rock, B.C. to volunteer there.
Olivia Guy-McCarvill/Calgary Journal

McGown, 18, one of four sisters, was home-schooled and has been living in a house, rented by Katimavik, with 12 others.

She's been volunteering at the EcoStore in Calgary for the last six months on Tuesday to Friday each week.

McGown explains some of her tasks at the EcoStore: “I answer questions about composting and recycling and various parts of the EcoStore either via email, phone or in person when people drop in. I’m learning about composting so I can educate more people about it. And I do general upkeep of the store, cleaning, tidying, stocking the shelves.”

Erin McLaughlin, manager of the EcoStore said that Rachel McGown has excelled particularly in customer service and has learned a lot about composting and has been able to educate people on it.

McGown is no newcomer to volunteering, as her mother Leslie Payne mentioned, “Rachel’s been in Girl Guides since she was five years old.”

Payne also spoke about her kids’ concern for deprived children: “The girls have always been very concerned about other children being involved in exploitive work experiences, so the clothing that we don’t buy at the thrift store we make sure that we’ve sourced it ethically and organically; we want to know where the products we’re using come from.”

In regards to her family's own green habits, McGown said, “We mostly do things just around our own home. We got a composter. We’re trying to buy only local and organic food. We don’t buy as many new things anymore, like clothing.”

McGown’s mom Payne also discussed the family’s habits: “We compost. We garden. We don’t have a car. We ride our bicycles and walk. We don’t use plastic bags. We keep our garbage to a minimum. We watch out for excessive packaging. And we make most of our own food, at home, from scratch.”

Rachel McGown also does backyard tree planting and is attempting to grow a garden.