Walking into through the doors of the Calgary Quest School and seeing the smile on her son’s face, Pamela Alkier is filled with a sense of hope. 

As any parent can relate, it means a lot to know her son, Joshua, would be part of a supportive learning community with access to educational and therapeutic programming specific to his needs.

Like any parent, Pamela dreams of the best for her kids. Before Joshua was even old enough for school, Pamela wondered if he would go to post-secondary and what kinds of activities, he would participate in. Soon after Joshua began attending Calgary Quest School, Pamela was asked to join the Calgary Quest Children’s Society’s board of directors, where she had the opportunity to share her ideas and make a difference. 

For her tireless work and commitment to her son’s school, Pamela was recognized as one of five 2021 SunCares Changemakers. Each year, five Suncor employees are named Changemakers for the significant work they do in their community. Each Changemaker is awarded a one-time donation of $20,000 from Suncor and the Suncor Energy Foundation to donate to a community organization of their choosing.

Pamela donated the full amount to the Calgary Quest Children’s Society, a multi-disciplinary community that works to provide a supportive learning environment for cross-disability students. The donation helped the organization improve the transportation experience of their students and enable the organization to run the Quest Adventure Camp this year. 

“Being excited to go to school and feeling a sense of belonging is critical for every child’s development,” says Pamela, a Case Management Advisor, in Business & Operations Services at Suncor. “I did a lot of research trying to find a school that would be the right fit for Joshua, and the fact that Calgary Quest Children’s Society delivered individual learning experiences for students with cross-disabilities really drew me in.

I really wanted to support the future of the organization,” reflects Pamela. “It’s easier for a typical-developing child to simply join daycare, recreational and sporting activities. Joshua was only seven at the time, and I really wanted him to have equal access to all these opportunities.”

Pamela Alkier and her family enjoying a walk

Pamela got right to work and along with the rest of the board, engaged the community to determine what kind of programs and services they needed most. One program she is proud of is the centre for opportunity. 

“The centre for opportunity is a transition program for young adults with developmental disabilities,” explains Pamela. “Through it, they participate in meaningful programming that enhances their life skills at home and in the community such as, technology acumen, health and wellness, and leisure activities to help bridge the gap between some of the society’s other programs. It’s an innovative program that is going to provide a huge benefit to the community.”

As a member of the board, Pamela has also helped the school launch two other programs this year including a before and after school care program and Quest Adventure Camp—a summer camp that provides kids with additional supports, so they can participate in recreational activities. 

“When Joshua was first born, we didn’t know if he would be able to walk or talk or what his development path would be,” says Pamela. “We know now we’re not alone and since becoming a part of the Quest School community, I’m feeling more positive about where Joshua will be in 10 years, and that’s all I can ask for."