Pain Court Student Honoured As United Way Campaign Chair

karen Kirkwood-White hold the United Way flag with new Chatham-Kent branch campaign chair Caterina Dawson at a ceremony at École secondaire catholique de Pain Court. June 15, 2018. (Photo by Greg Higgins)

The Chatham-Kent United Way has chosen a Pain Court student to be its 2018 campaign chair.

Caterina Dawson, a senior at École secondaire catholique de Pain Court, was honoured at her school Friday by the United Way with a ceremony officially announcing her new position.

Dawson said she started working with the United Way for her coop course at school. She thought she was going to receive bad news when she was pulled into Tom Slager’s office — he’s the director of resource development.

“He starts off the conversation with ‘well it’s always hard to do these things,’ so I thought I did something wrong,” Dawson said. “When he offered it to me, my face blushed up a little bit. I just said ‘OK’ and I was really excited.”

Initially, Dawson wanted to do her co-op with a program that helped youth, but there were no options available. She then asked if United Way was an option and the rest is history.

“I am so honoured to receive this position,” Dawson said. “I love the people and the work they do. I really wasn’t expecting to be offered it at all. It was out of the blue.”

Chatham-Kent United Way CEO Karen Kirkwood-Whyte said they were looking for a new chair to head the campaign and it turned out the organization had her right under its nose the whole time.

“We were watching and listening and thought ‘I think we found our campaign chair right here in our office,'” Kirkwood-Whyte said. “We saw the passion, commitment, drive and leadership opportunity. We asked her if she wanted to do it and she said ‘OK.'”

Dawson will be in charge of organizing events and fundraisers to raise money for the charity over the next year.