Two women who have made a difference in their communities through volunteer work and leadership were recognized by the University of the Fraser Valley with a Betty Urquhart Community Service award recently.
Betty Urquhart was one of the first employees of the university and believed strongly in volunteering and giving back to the community. While Betty passed away in 1995, UFV keeps her memory alive by honouring a person or group exemplifying her commitment to life-long learning and community.
This year, there were two recipients. Both Amber Price of Chilliwack and Anastasia Krapchatova of Abbotsford were honoured at UFV’s recent Town and Gown event. Susan Mide Kiss, UFV’s Vice President, Community Engagement, presented the awards.
Amber Price epitomizes the spirit of community service. As the owner of The Bookman store in downtown Chilliwack, she is a well-known community figure. But it’s in the grassroots initiatives to support the vitality of the community where her leadership really shines.
Amber is one of those indefatigable community volunteers involved in multiple committees and causes. One of the most notable is the Chilliwack Mural Festival, of which she is co-founder.
The Mural Festival resulted in 42 works of large-scale public artworks being available to the public. There were live artists performing at numerous outdoor venues as people strolled around trained interpreters who explained the art.
Amber sits on Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation as well as the Chilliwack Community Arts Council and Ena’s Community Cats, and on the audit committee of the Chilliwack Foundation.
She is known for “pop-up” activism events, such as garbage cleanup days.
Coincidentally, Amber’s business is directly across the street from the business of the late Betty Urquhart’s daughter, Mary, who was delighted to hear that her business neighbour won the award named for her mother.
“I am profoundly moved by the incredible honour of being a recipient of this award,” says Price. “While I never had the pleasure or privilege of knowing Betty Urquhart, I have no doubt that we would have gotten along famously. The legacy that she has left is one that we should all aspire to; to have made a profound difference in the place that we live by participating in relentless community service. From what her daughter Mary has told me, Betty believed in the importance of women using their voice, and I am proud to have my voice recognized in association with hers. No award is won by a single person, and I am grateful for all of the support, encouragement and opportunities that I have received. May all women walk in Betty’s footsteps with our heads held high; we are better, together.”
UFV student Anastasia Krapchatova received the award in recognition of her work in creating a senior/student club at UFV. This group was created during the COVID-19 pandemic as the quality of life of seniors significantly decreased due to their inability to see loved ones or socialize. Krapchatova felt the need to do something to bring safe socialization back to these seniors. The initiative started with Valentine’s day cards made by volunteers and children and led to Planting Positivity, where seniors are provided with hand-painted pots and plants at long-term care facilities to boost moral. Krapchatova has dedicated many hours to these projects, going over every detail to ensure they run smoothly and provide happiness to the elderly. This involved organizing volunteers, as well as volunteering her own time in painting and potting plants, creating cards, delivering flowers/puzzles/cards, and researching which types of projects would improve mental health in seniors. In addition to this volunteering, Krapchatova volunteers with Coquitlam seniors with Just Older Youth (JOY) program; this group creates free social events every month and meets every week.
During the floods of 2021, she did wellness checks on the elderly in the community and provided food to the homeless and those affected by the floods; at the same time, she volunteered with St. John’s as a paramedic in the flood effort.