Volunteer Tale: The Cowen Family

The Folklorama Festival owes its success to the countless volunteers who contribute their time and expertise. These volunteers help promote cultural understanding during the Folklorama Festival and year-round. When you look at the thousands of volunteers who are part of Folklorama, you will notice that most are families. Among these are the Cowen Family.

The Cowen family consists of Cathy and Steve, along with their children Daniel and Steph. This tight-knit family has been actively involved with the Japanese Canadian Association of Manitoba for years. It was through this association a couple of years ago that they learned about the call for Japanese Pavilion volunteers.

They might be fairly new to Folklorama, but their volunteer impact has truly hit home.

“It’s really great to be able to share with people who may not know a lot about Japan or its people, “states Cathy Cowen. “If someone walks away with some new and interesting fact about our heritage or culture, it’s a win. “

Son, Daniel was able to partake in the spotlight role of Pavilion Greeter, quickly becoming a happy and familiar face among many attendees of the Japanese Pavilion. His ability to dance around the stage and make others smile is just a part of what makes Daniel such an integral member of the Folklorama Family.

“Our hearts were touched when he would get an extra cheer after being introduced or when he tried to elicit a big response from the audience by gesturing to them,” states Cathy. “Inclusion and acceptance are everything to him and us, so for him to receive some extra recognition from the guests, and for him to be given this role meant a lot to all of us.”

The Cowen family has found volunteering together to be an excellent opportunity to connect with other community members and participate in the Folklorama Festival.

“It’s great to be Canadian, but it’s also important not to forget where our roots are and not to forget how to share and pass along our traditions and culture to newer generations.”

Thank you, Cowen family, for your dedication and way to go, Daniel, for welcoming thousands of people to start their experience at your Pavilion so perfectly.

Is your family looking to volunteer with Folklorama? Contact Katie Green, Coordinator, Member and Festival Services at [email protected].