Twenty-five years ago, Doreen began volunteering at a seniors program run out of the Old Ottawa Hospital. Two and a half decades later she’s still volunteering, but now it’s at Carefor’s Perley Adult Day Program. She comes every Thursday, which happens to be Men’s Day. They play games, talk about current events, have a bite to eat and play a little pool.
Today, there’s a singer belting out songs from decades past. Doreen stands up and turns to the gentleman beside her. She extends a hand practically pulling him from his seat with the warmth of her smile. As they dance, she talks to him, they share a laugh, he gives her a twirl. It’s like watching two friends out on the town.
When asked, Doreen says what many volunteers say: “I get more out of this…than what I’m ever giving.” She continues, “It’s very rewarding. It’s very nice to see these gentlemen…who had a life and had a career…it’s nice to be able to mix with them and hopefully make them feel important and loved.” You can see the essence of volunteering in how Doreen is with the clients – people connecting with people. There’s an exchange that’s taking place lifting everyone up.
As much as today there is dancing, it’s not always easy. The trouble with making relationships is that they eventually end. “I look forward to [volunteering at Perley]. I feel almost devastated when some of our clients either move or pass on. They feel like family.” But in the time, Doreen and the men she volunteers with are in each other’s lives, you can see how important it is, to all of them.
Thank you, Doreen, and to all our volunteers for what you give.
If you are interested in volunteering, visit https://carefor.ca/support-carefor/volunteer.