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Volunteer Appreciation Week - 2013 Healthy People, Healthy Communities
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More short stories...

Special People Volunteer their Time to Enrich the Lives of Others
Laurie Adams, Recreation Specialist, Hoyles Escasoni Complex

As a recreation specialist in a long term care facility, I have seen first-hand the valuable role volunteers play in assisting with Therapeutic Recreation Services.   

Volunteers dedicate their time assisting with our recreation programs at the site and in the community. Whether it is visiting with a resident as a companion or helping a resident participate in a bowling program, the time and the involvement of the volunteer is important, appreciated and recognized. Many of our events and activities utilize these special people who are willing to spend time to enrich the lives of others.

Best Volunteering I have ever done
Submitted by volunteers Hilda White, Maureen Roche and Marie Skiffington

On a Thursday evening in October 2001, a group of friends and I gathered to play our regular card game of Rummoli, when we overheard a public service announcement on the radio looking for volunteers to help with providing a weekly Monday evening bingo for the residents of the Hoyles Escasoni Complex. We decided to volunteer.

As they say, the rest is history. After twelve eleven years and over 400 bingo games, some of the group still plays Rummoli together and we still provide the Monday evening bingo. Over the years we have had many special bingos, recognized resident birthdays, helped with garden parties and Christmas events and have become friends and advocates for many of the residents.

One of our volunteers, Marie Skiffington says “This is the best volunteering I have ever done.
I often think about my own mother and hope that if she lived in this environment others would volunteer and help enhance her life.”


Volunteer finds a New Appreciation for Life
Youth Volunteer, Jessica Dwyer
“Volunteering with Eastern Health has been a very fulfilling experience. Interacting with the residents and learning about their lives and their personalities has made me a better   person. I have found a new appreciation for life. I have gained social skills, and I find that it has made me better prepared to pursue a career in health care. Every time I visit I am rewarded with memories and smiles.”

Volunteer brings MUN Kindness Friday Program to LTC
Judy Cook, Coordinator Volunteer Resources, Long Term Care, St. John's

Each year on the third Friday of October, students get involved in the community through acts of kindness, helping out at various community centers and organizations.

This year one of our regular student volunteers Lauren Skanes encouraged and then led her fellow students from her social justice class to the doors of several of our nursing homes, where they helped with programs and visited with the residents.

Students said they enjoyed their Kindness Friday Day, meeting the residents and becoming more aware of the long term care setting. Lauren was nominated by the Hoyles Escasoni Complex for the MUN Student Volunteer of the Year of the Year Award 2013.

My Volunteer Story Bonavista
Submitted by Brittany Ryan, Volunteer at Golden Heights Manor, Bonavista

As a Level III high school student in Bonavista, I started volunteering at the local long-term care facility, Golden Heights Manor. 

I found the time I spent there to be very rewarding and I took great pride in being able to bring a smile to the faces of many of the residents.

Whether it was playing cards or just sitting for a chat, the residents were thankful for my time as a volunteer and I was equally as thankful to be able to listen to their stories.

In September, when I moved to St. John’s to further my education at Memorial University, I was easily able to transfer my volunteer efforts to a different institution within Eastern Health.

Today, I volunteer with children at the Janeway Hospital where I spend most of my volunteer time playing games and doing crafts with the children. My volunteer time has given me the opportunity to bring a smile to a child’s face and has allowed me a chance to work with small children in the medical field - something I plan to pursue as a career.

Volunteering at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital

Submitted by Aileen Kenny, Volunteer at St. Clare’s Mercy Hospital
As a graduate of St. Clare's School of Nursing and having spent many years working at St. Clare's as a staff nurse, it was only natural that I would return "home" to volunteer with St. Clare’s Auxiliary when I retired.

Since 2001, I have spent many enjoyable hours at St. Clare’s visiting with and feeding patients, becoming reacquainted with staff, and meeting other volunteers - some of whom have become close friends. 
Every year we all enjoy getting together for our annual provincial Auxiliary convention.  While each volunteer Auxiliary in our organization has its own challenges, we all have one goal - to improve the lives of those we help through volunteering, whether it be direct patient care or via our fundraising efforts.

Volunteering has no Age
Submitted by Lacey Matchem, Volunteer at Goldern heights Manor, Bonavista
My name is Lacey Matchem, I am 17 years old and am a volunteer at Golden Heights Manor in Bonavista, NL. I began volunteering with my grandmother, Joyce Matchem, who is currently still a volunteer.
I was about 11 years old when I first started volunteering; I started off doing night lunches once a week. I enjoyed going around with lunches and talking with each resident but the part I always looked forward to the most was to see a smile come on their face when I’d walk in their room. It would not only brighten my night but it was a good feeling to know I was also brightening their night.
As I started high school, I realized it was difficult with both school and volunteering. I slowly stopped volunteering once a week and focused more on school. I certainly missed it and regretted it afterwards, but I am proud to say I am back volunteering again.
My current role is sitting with some residents and helping them play games, such as Bingo and assisting with the parties they have, such as birthday parties. I enjoy being able to help these residents and see the smiles appear on their face - it’s a great feeling!
I would like to thank volunteer coordinator Charlotte Ritman for accepting me as volunteer and giving me this great opportunity in volunteering, an experience that I will certainly love to continue! :)  

Josephine Hickey, Making Her Rounds in Long-Term Care
Submitted by Carl Roberts, Coordinator, Volunteer Resources

Josephine Hickey is an extraordinary volunteer who has contributed thousands of hours of volunteer service since joining our team back in April of 1994, most notably in the long-term care setting where residents are especially vulnerable and lonely. As she says, “I wanted to contribute to the community in which I lived, so I decided to become a volunteer after my children reached adulthood.”

Long-Term Care Holds a Special Place
She is especially happy to be of assistance to both the recreation staff and the pastoral care division staff of the Dr. L.A Miller Centre Veterans Pavilion.

She assists with many activities, outings and events they organize and also escorts residents and patients over to the Veteran’s Pavilion to attend church services. She also actively attends Auxiliary meetings, and was an Auxiliary member at large for the Miller Centre at one point.

If that’s not enough, she also spends time at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, and was also a volunteer with Hoyles Home from 1996 to 2002.

Confidence Building
Volunteering has made a huge difference in her life. According to Mrs. Hickey, as a stay- at - home mom for many years, she was not used to interacting with people in the public. Now she says, “I have become a much more confident individual as a result of my volunteer contributions, and I look forward to the many social interactions I enjoy in my role as a community volunteer.”

She also values her role as an advocate for seniors and can see the world of difference that recreation, especially things such as song and dance, can make to an elderly person’s quality of life. She is viewed by many as an avid dancer herself. “I am honored to be part of the lives of so many wonderful people.”

And we are honored to have this dedicated and committed lady as part of our volunteer team here at the Dr. L. A. Miller Centre!  She is truly a pleasure to have around and a tremendous asset to our programs! 



Updated Apr 24, 2013