Sonja Suter, making the community stronger
Twenty-year-old Sonja Suter grew up in SaintBernardin, going to school in Saint-Bernardin, then to École élémentaire catholique Saint-Grégoire, St. Jude Catholic School, and Glengarry District High School. Now at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish in Nova Scotia, she is studying hard to make her community stronger and better.
Suter grew up on the S-S Holstein Dairy farm in Saint-Bernardin with her parents, Paula and Frank, and her siblings, David, Sarah and Marcus.
Suter speaks Swiss-German, French and English flawlessly. Her parents had emigrated from Switzerland and wanted their children to learn French. Suter, along with her siblings, attended Saint-Grégoire, and they moved on to St. Jude when her parents wanted the children to learn English.
Suter is in her third year of five of a double major at St. Francis Xavier University in Antigonish, studying sociology and psychology. “I have grown up in a small town,” said Suter. “I wanted to stay in a small town, and I wanted something different. A lot of people were going to Ottawa. I wanted to see something else while keeping that small town atmosphere. Antigonish was the perfect place.”
Suter went to university not really sure what she wanted to do once she was finished. Her siblings had all decided on agri-management and business, but that was not the road she wanted. “I had no idea what I wanted to do,” explained Suter. “I love the classes and I love the subjects, but I really wasn’t sure where I wanted to go with it.”
Suter began working as a summer student at United Way\Centraide of Prescott Russell in Hawkesbury in June. “I’m working toward making the community stronger and better,” said Suter. “I am also meeting people who want to do the same as well as seeing the people that are affected by the programs. I am meeting people who already have so much on their plates, and yet they are still volunteering their time and helping others. I realized I would love to work in non-profit helping my community become stronger and better.”
While working at United Way/Centraide, Suter has been able to see firsthand what it takes to make a difference in the community. “I love working here at United Way,” stated Suter. “They may not have specific programs, but they help other organizations with funds for programs that make our community stronger. United Way has funded 14 different organizations during the 2014-2015 year, which is amazing.”
Suter said The Reality Tour is a perfect example of the type of program United Way/ Centraide is trying to help. “United Way offers funding so the programs don’t have to spend all their time on fundraising,” said Suter. “They can spend their energy on running the program and helping people.”
Suter said she will be said to go in a way. “All my life, I never knew what I wanted to do, until I started working here,” said Suter. She is very close with her family and comes back for Christmas holidays and spring break. While at college, she volunteers her time with the community. Last year, Suter tutored an 11-year-old girl with reading, writing and arithmetic. This year, she plans on volunteering at a seniors’ residence, spending time with some of the seniors and helping out in any way she can.
Suter said she loves working with the United Way/Centraide and executive director Jodie Densmore, and hopes to return next summer.
Sonja Suter from Saint-Bernardin