Senior Beverly Hollen has a rich local history, a large part of which has been her involvement in Alberta Women’s Institute.
Hollen recalls attending WI meetings since childhood, as her mother Elfreida Westover often would take Hollen with her when she attended. Hollen herself became an official member in approximately 1988.
Alberta Women’s Institute (AWI) is a voluntary association for women and has been active for over 100 years. The institute is made up of women who stand “for home and country” as quoted in their motto.
AWI is a part of the Federated Women’s Institutes of Canada, which is closely associated with the Associated Country Women of the World, an international organization that focuses on volunteer work, activism, and education.
AWI has branches all across Alberta, with its local branch being Creighton Women's Institute (CWI), established in 1932, of which Beverly Hollen has been president for approximately 20 years. Hollen calls the branch “A generational WI, because many of our grandmothers and mothers have been members of Creighton.”
As a member of a provincial organization, CWI has been involved in petitions presented at both a local and federal level. Creighton itself has sponsored local high school and post secondary scholarships, and supported agricultural education at the elementary level. Creighton supports various programs and establishments in Mannville, such as the Mannville Public Library, the hot lunch program, and the patient fund. CWI also supports charitable organizations such as the Mannville food bank and Operation Christmas Child, an organization that sends Christmas gifts to children in poverty around the world.
Hollen also reports that AWI is not only about helping the community, but also enriching each other’s lives. When asked about her own experience with WI, Hollen states; “I enjoy the things we learn; I enjoy associating with various branches, and of course, members of our own branch. We aim to have fun together and learn new things.”
Hollen is enthusiastic about the work CWI has done. However, despite its rich history, Hollen is concerned about the future of CWI.
“We’re blessed to have 12 members... What I would like to see is a new branch started up with younger women interested in good family values and supporting women in their community, and also in their country; we need young blood, and new ideas to be presented.”
Hollen approaches her role in AWI with focus, passion, and care for her community. She also asks that if women of any age are interested in joining, she would be more than happy to welcome them into Creighton WI, or help them in establishing a new branch if that is preferred. It is evident that Hollen’s involvement in the Women’s Institute has had a great impact on her own life.