It’s very simple. I just said, “I am there for you.”

Emmanuel Micallef – Client – Palliative Services

It happened. You can’t go back and change it… What is happening tomorrow, I can’t control it. So all I can control is today. It’s very simple. I just said, “I am there for you.” I said I am going to have my downs and my ups but I will always here for you. I have prostate cancer. I have arthritis in my knees and you know, these things happen. So like I said, I am here for you.

Click play to hear a full interview with Emmanuel below: 

I went to change someone’s life, but my life got changed instead

Charanjit Singh – Child/Youth Health Program Coordinator

I like to walk the talk so I was challenging myself that I need to volunteer too. So I looked into our hospice program and they had a client that they wanted to see if I would go and visit him. So I am like, “Sure, I am happy to make a change in someone’s life.” And I started to visit him and his wish was to visit the Sikh temple once a week on Saturday mornings. “Yes, sure, I can definitely drive you there.” And there was one catch, he wanted to go at 7 a.m. on Saturdays. So I was like, “OK, yes, I can manage that.” And so we started doing it. So I got to tell you, on some Friday nights coming home from work or had a party or something, I was like, man, I don’t think I’d be able to wake up tomorrow morning. Maybe I should just call him. Then there was one time that I actually did call, I was just so tired, and I was hoping we could skip tomorrow. I called and the phone was ringing and I was feeling so bad and I was thinking maybe I should hang up and then he picked up. He’s like, “Hello,” I am like, “Uncle, it’s Charanjit,” and he said, “Oh, Charanjit, I was looking forward to tomorrow and I just can’t wait.” And I was like, oh man, I guess I see you tomorrow. And I hung up and when I go there he would stand on his curb and he was having such a smile on his face. And he just lit right up and that would be my sunrise in the morning. And I remember driving him there and seeing how much gratitude he had, how much appreciation he had just so I can accompany him. It’s really something I never forget. I always think to myself that I went to change someone’s life, but my life got changed instead.

Click play to hear a full interview with Charanjit below: 

I was an at-risk teenager

Annakim Ffrench – Youth Service Navigator

I was an at-risk teenager. Got pregnant when I was 15 and I had my son when I was 16 so at that point, it was like I faced a lot of challenges. Going to school. I was still in high school. I went to school straight up until my due day. My son came two weeks late and I was still in school. Teachers told me to go home but in my mind, I had this fear of not being successful because that was what society labeled that population as people that have children at the young age are less likely to be successful. That’s not 100% true because I know that I came above those odds but for me, it was challenging.

Click play to hear a full interview with Annakim below: 

I was struggling for my own survival

Debra McGonegal – Fund and Volunteer Development Manager

I was left with three kids, totally unexpected. I had to get back to work and my minister was on the board for Home for Pregnant Teens. I took this position as the volunteer coordinator and I had never felt so valued. All my other work experience seemed so… not worthless, but nothing was as important as these girls gravitating towards me because I understood. I had coped as a single parent and they just loved being around me and I loved helping them. At the end of my contract, they actually got a petition and got people to sign to keep my job, but there was no funding for it. That was where my love for non-profit started. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else after that but working for an organization that doesn’t care about the bottom line as much as how many people they can help.

Click play to hear a full interview with Debra below: 

She had to hold our dead son in her arms

Paula Paunic – Volunteer – Palliative and Bereavement Program – Pregnancy – Infant Loss

The husband at first was a little bit hesitant to share what he was feeling because he felt his grief wasn’t… He kept downplaying his grief, “My grief isn’t as important as my wife’s. She had to carry our son for 21 weeks and be induced and hold our dead son in her arms. I can’t even compare my grief to hers.” And it’s so important in this organization that we let men know that their grief is just as valuable and just as important and the journey of healing is important.

Click play to hear a full interview with Paula below: 

 

I hope my kids could see through my eyes how I look at them

Arujuhna Rajadurai -Youth outreach worker – Tamil community

My grandmother used to tell me, “Be truthful to yourself. Be kindful.” She also said, “If you can do that, your life will be a whole.” The other thing she also said is, “Continue studying, continue learning new things because there are always new things to learn. It doesn’t matter if you are 70.” To be successful, that is something she did and her husband, my grandfather, did as well. Looking at those two and seeing how they taught my parents and then looking at them and what they have done, so now I will do the same with my kids. I hope my kids could see through my eyes how I look at them. It’s… it’s so beautiful.

Click play to hear a full interview with Arujuhna below:

Whatever purpose I have in this world, I hope that’s the path I’ve taken

Jacqueline – Volunteer – Palliative Program and Day Hospice

I discovered that it’s not easy to visit the city in a wheelchair. So I started looking for ways. How can we make our visits different? And she explained to me one of her favourite things was going to the beach. And online I found the city has a place for wheelchairs on the beach. Donald D. Summerville Olympic Pools, that’s where we went. I was able to transfer her to another wheelchair and we went to the beach. It was an experience for her. She hadn’t been on the beach for years. She hadn’t felt the sand. The moment we drove the wheelchair onto the beach, I saw her face change and I was able to get out of the wheelchair and she was lying on the sand. And yes, just her closing her eyes and making an angel in the sand, it brought me joy that she was so happy.

Click play to hear a full interview with Jacqueline below: 

I thought you were just homeless

Lucksha Srirangarajan – Volunteer – Marketing and Fund Development Student

I was raised in Scarborough. And when I was younger, I didn’t really like saying I was from Scarborough. When anyone asked, I was from Toronto, I wasn’t from Scarborough. And then when I went off to school, and people were like, “Where you are from?” and I said Scarborough and they went, “Is it the ghettos?” But ever since coming into this organization, I realize how much our community is actually worth.

Click play to hear a full interview with Lucksha below: 

I think if you don’t volunteer, you miss out

Frank Ansell – Volunteer – Meals on Wheels

Today was an interesting day because we had a lady and she was down in the dumps last week. So we bought her a flower, a little plant, and delivered it today. And she cried and cried and cried because nobody has given her plants for a long time. And she thanked us and she said, “You know, last week was my birthday so that’s why I was so upset and down because it was my birthday and I turned 100. I am so happy that you gave me this. Thank you. Thank you.” And at first, she didn’t want to take it because, you know, we all have this reciprocity that if he is giving me something, what do I have to give him back? You know, why is he doing it? We said, “No, we just want to make you happy.” So she embraced the flower, embraced us, and cried. That was today.

Click play to hear a full interview with Frank below: 

That was one of the best days of my life!

Arenne Kiritharan – Growing Leadership Program

When I was presented with it, it was a total surprise. We were at the Sky Zone. They gave us tickets and we had a great time. We got some pizzas and I got this really nice Sprite. For some reason that Sprite tasted really good that day. And then they gave me ten thousand dollars. I was blown away. But the people I was with, that was the best part, because they were happy for me. I was like “That’s insane!” They had no hidden feelings. It was just so pure, and they were excited for me. And then I was excited. It was just genuine. That was one of the best days of my life!

Click play to hear a full interview with Arenne below: