This #NVW2021, join us as we thank volunteers who comfort so many. Let’s celebrate together the power and potential of volunteerism and honour VOLUNTEERS — they really are the vital links that hold this community together.
Share on social media! We’re inviting Halton organizations to encourage their volunteers and members to share their volunteer stories in celebration of National Volunteer Week. Tweet and share on Facebook your volunteer contribution and mention @VolunteerHalton #VolunteersBringChange.
Volunteer Impact Stories
We need more Margarets! Margaret is a dedicated volunteer with the Friendship Luncheon congregate dining program at the Sir Colborne Senior Centre with the Town of Oakville. The program provides those 80+ living alone a social outing each week with the assistance of a volunteer driver, includes a social visit, hot lunch, entertainment, cards and games.
Margaret’s unselfish efforts have been a brighter spark throughout some gloomy times. When the pandemic forced the closure of the Centre, Margaret happily continued to call each client every Sunday for a wee visit (as she would say), being a reassuring voice on the end of the phone. Margaret has been a lifeline for isolated seniors who may live alone or have been dealing with the uncertainty of the situation. Her phone calls have provided cheer, support, encouragement, information, and reassurance. In fact, Margaret ‘s efforts have kept everyone up to date on one another also. Margaret cheerfully relays updates and shares stories of hope and encouragement through the ‘grapevine’ as she chats with each client.
Margaret’s giving, caring nature is unstoppable and the hope and joy she brings to her clients is a wonderful thing to witness.
Thank you, Margaret for your tireless dedication to the Friendship Luncheon program and the clients who are so very thankful for your commitment and the joy you bring each week. (Submitted by Julie Pennal, Recreation Coordinator,Colborne Senior Centre Recreation and Culture, Town of Oakville)
This is David Smart. He is a volunteer with Food for Life. David and his team of volunteers run a program that is serving 80 families every week. They have run the program through COVID from the parking lot of the Brant Hills Presbyterian Church. He not only runs the program, but throughout the summer David brought his team every week to help pack the GOOD FOOD bags that would go out into the community. Thank you, David, for all you do. (Emily Boothe, Manager of Volunteer Experience, Food for Life)
This is Judy Bridgman. The death of a child, no matter their age, is devastating. After Judy lost her son it took time to process her grief and find a way of moving on in her new world. She learned a lot through the experience and decided that she wanted to give back in a meaningful way. Judy became an Acclaim Health Bereavement Peer Support Volunteer in 2015. During her time with Acclaim she has provided invaluable support, validation, and reassurance to grieving parents. In addition, Judy became a Bereavement Support Group Facilitator and was instrumental in developing a support group for parents who have lost an adult child. These groups have supported over 30 parents to date.
Judy is always willing to help wherever needed. She has been a panelist at a grief workshop hosted by the Child and Youth Grief Network and has shared her experiences as a Peer Support Bereavement Volunteer in our Bereavement Volunteer Training.
Judy’s passion for helping others is outstanding and she is always willing to give whatever she can to support others. We are so lucky to have this amazing volunteer as part of our Acclaim Health team. She is awesome! Thank you, Judy, for all you do! (Francine Savelson, Volunteer Engagement Coordinator, Acclaim Health)
This is Haidi Wu. Haidi has been an incredible contributor to our BurlingtonGreen volunteer team since the fall of 2016 when a member of our team presented at her school eco-club. Since than she has been involved in virtually every volunteer opportunity available within our organization. Haidi has personally planted dozens of native trees, shrubs and plants in addition to the hundreds of invasive plants she has removed in an effort to support local biodiversity. She has sorted through dozens and dozens of bags of waste at large events and festivals, ensuring every item is properly sorted into compost or recycling which has resulted in her personally saving hundreds of pounds of waste from the landfill. A volunteer job that is certainly not the most glamourous, but which she participates in with great enthusiasm focus.
Haidi is also an incredible artist and fuses her passions for the Earth and for creating to educate and inspired hundreds through her eco-focused art pieces.
In addition to her contributions to BurlingtonGreen, Haidi is also involved in an impressive amount of extracurricular activities, such as her membership and participation in the Ontario Nature Youth Council as well as founding the Burlington Biodiverse Committee.
Haidi is a constant source of inspiration. Knowing that our younger generation is filled with incredible individuals such as Haidi gives us an abundance of hope and optimism for our future. Thank you, Haidi, for all you do! (Kale Black, Senior Program Coordinator, BurlingtonGreen)
Ian Anderson House – Volunteer Impact During the Pandemic
On March 13th 2020, as things were beginning to shut down during the pandemic, we made the very difficult decision, for the safety of our volunteers, to suspend our volunteer program at Ian Anderson House. Volunteers play a vital role at the hospice, so adjusting to life without them was very difficult in those first couple of months.
Our volunteer team are an outstanding group of people, and they wanted to continue to contribute to the hospice in any way they could. When asked if anyone could cook meals at home and drop them off at the hospice for our residents the response was huge, and overnight we had a meal train set up, with volunteers dropping off meals every day.
When PPE supplies were limited, we put out a call to volunteers, and within a day we had volunteers sewing and making beautiful washable gowns, bonnets, and masks for the staff to wear.
We also had a team of volunteers working in the garden all spring and summer, pruning trees and bushes so that families could access the windows of the rooms and we could offer window visits. Our volunteers then went to work coming in shifts two – three times a week weeding, planting, pruning, and keeping the gardens beautiful all summer, so that families had a beautiful place to have a visit or spend some quiet time.
When we called them to come back to work, with safety measures in place, many were thrilled to return to their role, even though it had to be different and limited.
We are truly grateful for our volunteers; our unsung heroes of the pandemic, who took on a different role this year, but continued to make a huge impact on the hospice. (Heidi Harrigan, Volunteer and Events Coordinator, Ian Anderson House)