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Lifelong Saskatchewan volunteer shares heartwarming story of inspiration

Lifelong Saskatchewan volunteer says volunteer journey highlighted by meeting new people because everybody has a story.

SASKATCHEWAN — Meet the extraordinary Saskatchewan product whose parents shaped a lifetime of volunteering. Kaleb Dahlgren says he has been a lifelong volunteer. When the family moved to Saskatoon from Moose Jaw, his volunteer journey began in school.

Dahlgren served on student council, belonged to the recorder club, choir, chess club and sports club. Outside of school, the former Lakeridge Elementary and Holy Cross High School student began volunteering at a long-term care residence.

“Creating and cultivating relationships with residents throughout the years was a highlight,” says Dahlgren.

Volunteering interest came from Dahlgren’s parents as they would bring him along to their long-term care facilities and encourage him to engage with residents through various activities.

“I came to realize that giving back fuels the soul and it was something I loved to do.”

Becoming a teenager, Dahlgren started to get more involved with the diabetes community, being diabetic himself.

“I found that there was a gap between support for teenagers as they embarked on managing their own diabetes. I wanted to have a support for them to ask questions, to learn from, and to look up to someone who is succeeding in an athletic endeavour with diabetes. This need sparked me to join on with JDRF as a provincial ambassador and then start my mentorship program in 2017 called Dahlgrens Diabeauties.”

Since 2017, Dahlgren directed focus on the diabetes community, also being part of Diabetes Canada. However, he also had various other endeavours and was a national ambassador for multiple organizations that included Special Olympics hockey, STARS air ambulance national ambassador, Children’s Breakfast Club ambassador, Lions leadership, business club representative and several others.

“The key to balancing life is through execution. Being very organized with a strong sense of time, allows me to make the most of each minute of the day. I am thankful for Dexcom G7, a glucose monitoring system that allows me to see real-time glucose levels so I can live life to the fullest without worrying about my Type 1 diabetes, “adds Dahlgren.

The Saskatchewan-born volunteer who is currently studying chiropractic recognizes that finding balance allows him to expand his horizons while also taking time for himself, his academics, his physical and mental health, his relationships, and his passions.

“I get fueled by helping others and realize that this is a portion of my life that I need to help create fulfillment.”

Dahlgren also acknowledges that volunteering has given him another lens and perspective on understanding people. Realizing that everybody has their own challenges and that we are all human at the end of the day helps cultivate connection and community. Being immersed and putting a smile on someone else's face, puts a smile in his heart.

Throughout the years, Dahlgren’s love for people has grown as he continues to meet new people throughout his volunteering journey. These people build the foundation of his worldview and also provide a community of strong individuals who want to uplift each other.

Advice Dahlgren would give to others to inspire and encourage them to service as volunteers include, “Doing a good deed is simple but has a massive impact on our entire world. Think of the ripple effect - you do one good deed, and it ripples for people in places beyond your measure. Something simple as holding the door open or smiling at a person on the street, can truly change the trajectory of their life as you don't know what someone is going through. The best way to volunteer is by finding something that you are passionate about and work to make it better through either education, awareness, research, support, or enlightenment. By doing this, you're going to create a positive impact around you.”

Words of wisdom from this lifelong volunteer include words of thanks acknowledging that your community, your province and your country needs and appreciates you.

“Human connection is the basis of a need that humans have. By being a part of a community - you're bigger than yourself and able to work towards achieving goals together. The beauty of life is that people don't remember what you said to them, but do remember how you made them feel. Continue to spread love and be the radiating sunshine and someone else's life. “

Dahlgren affirms that the biggest highlight of his volunteer journey is the opportunity to meet new people because everybody has a story. Their story can truly impact the trajectory of your own life. He is beyond grateful for the opportunities to meet great people through his volunteer experiences.

Kaleb Dahlgren is one of the survivors of the tragic 2018 Humboldt bus crash.  His website outlines that in the face of insurmountable odds, living with diabetes and this life changing event, he continues to persevere in both professional and personal life while dedicating himself to helping others. Whether that’s through sharing his story or through his community volunteer work, Dahlgren believes in the power of community.