Our Featured Volunteer of the Month is Mary Anne Persaud
One of the greatest parts of our volunteer features is that they exhibit the number and breadth of volunteer roles we have at Lancers. The saying “it takes a village” rings true for a not-for-profit and we are thankful to have so many wonderful and talented individuals in our community who give their time, passion, and energy to maintain and improve Lancers. Another great part about our features is that it allows us to show how individuals transition from dipping their toe into volunteering to taking on much more consistent and involved roles.
Mary Anne Persaud began volunteering, as she says, for “this and that” when her daughter Ruby joined Lancers in 2017. This includes volunteering with our Chase the Ace fundraiser, Doors Open and our Open House, and helping at canteens. In January 2018, Mary Anne decided to take the leap and joined the Board of Directors. As a practicing lawyer who works in health and corporate law, Mary Anne filled a need on our Board for someone with legal expertise. Mary Anne is now the Vice-President of the Board. This spring she also spearheaded a casual clothing initiative to provide Lancer gear which riders and parents can wear when not riding. The hoodies and sweatpants have been a SMASHING success and at the barn and at shows, you can always see Lancers wearing their casual clothing with pride. It was a great fundraiser and we were very thankful to have Mary Anne present the idea and execute the project.
When asked why Mary Anne has decided to give so much of her very little spare time, she explained, “I want to support my daughter Ruby and the community that has welcomed her at Lancers. I was not a ‘horse person’ and still don’t know much about horses, but I am learning! But I think Lancers is a unique and special place for our city, and the positive impact it has had on Ruby is incredible”. In this, Mary Anne highlights an important point that perhaps sometimes parents feel that they need to be “horse people” to be able to volunteer. Instead, while junior riders are constantly learning about horsemanship and riding, so too can their parents, even if from a different angle, by volunteering. We often find that parents who volunteer at Lancers feel that the horses and all the activity in the stables become a point of conversation with their children. What better way to gain empathy for your child when they (lovingly) complain that they have to stay a few minutes late to help unload hay than volunteering to unload over 1000 bags of shavings!?
Mary Anne has served on other boards and has volunteered elsewhere but in her view, what sets Lancers apart is how passionate, dedicated and hard working its members are. “It wouldn’t run without its many volunteers who do it for the love of the horses”, she added. For Mary Anne, the best part about Lancers is the sense of community among the riders, parents, and volunteers. And of course, the “horsies” are also a great part too! Speaking of, Mato is currently Mary Anne’s favourite because he is such a charmer.
Although Ruby and her family have only been Lancers for two years, there has been plenty of time for Mary Anne to form some lasting memories. Watching Ruby win a first in her first training show was definitely a highlight. Mary Anne explained, “she was so nervous and I was so proud of her for working hard and overcoming her fears”. Watching the Musical Ride for the first time also stands out in Mary Anne’s mind as she finds it so beautiful to watch.
We are very thankful to have Mary Anne with us. Ruby is a great Lancer and even Mary Anne’s husband, Keshan, is a great volunteer (who contributes much to our building maintenance and repair)! Mary Anne says that for their future, she is going to be here as long as Ruby is riding (and probably longer). She Ruby is in 6, that means we’ll hopefully have a good few years yet! Mary Anne joked, “who knows, I may have to start riding”!
Mary Anne, we are very appreciative of your dedication to Lancers and all your expertise and experience you bring to our Board and community. Considering how well your casual clothing initiative went, we can’t wait to see what your next idea is!