Son­ja Su­ter, ma­king the com­mu­ni­ty stron­ger

Tribune Express - - PROFILE - DIANE HUN­TER diane.hun­

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

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