Wawota’s Suzanne Eisler to receive Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal

Volunteer with Little Dresses group

April 1, 2024, 10:30 am
Ashley Bochek

Suzanne Eisler of Wawota sews little dresses to be distributed to children in developing countries. Eisler will be honored with a Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal, which will be presented at Government House later this month.

Ten years ago, Suzanne Eisler started a volunteer group called Little Dresses, who gather at the Free Methodist Church in Wawota every week. The group sews dresses and boys shorts to be given to African children.

Now she is being recognized for that volunteer work —she is one of the recipients of the Saskatchewan Volunteer Medal. She will receive this award later this month at Government House is Regina.

Suzanne says she never expected this award and is honoured to be recognized for her work with Little Dresses.

“I was tearful when I was told I would be getting this award,” she says. “I never expected it. I hadn’t even heard about it, so I was honoured when I found out. I felt all those emotions. They phoned me to see if I would accept it. I knew for about two months that I was chosen, but I couldn’t say anything to anybody until they announced it. I guess they wanted to see if I would accept it because some people say no thank you and I said, ‘oh yes I would’.”

Little Dresses volunteers nominated Suzanne Eisler for the award.

“I had no idea about it all,” she says. “It was done right under my nose. A lady from the Little Dresses put together the nomination and they all helped her.”

Suzanne says the group has succeeded for 10 years because volunteers have kept supporting it all that time.

“People just showed up,” she said. “People would show up, material and thread would show up. It is just what we do. The first day, 21 people showed up and I didn’t think anyone would show up. Now we are down to about 12 volunteers. We have lost some from moving away or passing away.

“It is senior people about 60 and older who meet to do the Little Dresses. We will go as long as we can. That is all we can say. When I first heard about this idea, Oxbow had a similar group and theirs folded up so then they sent us their supplies. That was a long time ago, but that is all you can do is just hope to keep going. If nobody wanted to do it anymore, we would have no choice but to stop it.”

She said she was surprised by the volunteer award.

“I didn’t even know anything about it, and I certainly didn’t start this for an award. I just wanted to do my part in helping volunteer.

“Volunteering is important because little towns depend on volunteers. You have to do something in your life to help other people. We have made over 10,000 dresses and I think around 3,000 shorts and they have all gone to children who need them.

“We have never ever paid for transportation. They have all gone with people who are travelling especially before COVID. Now, it has really dropped down. Also now, if we don’t have anyone going, we can send them to Saskatoon. They load containers there for stuff to be sent to Africa. I don’t know the details about that one—someone else looks after that.”

She said she is looking forward to the awards ceremony where she will receive her medal.

“I know the award ceremony is at Government House on April 16. They have a reception after too, but that is about all I know.

“I am absolutely looking forward to the award ceremony. There are 10 of us from around the province getting volunteer medals. Three members of my family will be coming with me as well, it’ll be nice.”