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: 

Having pity for them doesn’t make them feel great

Rashme Nanda – Volunteer – Child/Youth Health Program

We were sitting in the lecture hall at the end of class and he said, “Nobody listens anymore.” And I am like, “What do you mean?” Then he said, “Nobody really listens to anybody. They just kind of listen to respond. They don’t listen to understand.” It hit me like a ton of bricks and I think that’s the one thing I can point out that’s kind of instill in myself that I have to actually listen to people.

Click play to hear a full interview with Rashme 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: 

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: 

Being a mother is the hardest job

Tehillah Isidahomen – Student placement volunteer program

Being a mother is the hardest job, I’d say, in the world. Because sometimes you are by yourself and you don’t have someone else to kind of bring your child up. Obviously, being a teenager, I was not easy to put up with. And when you are young, you want to experience different things. You think that you’ve grown. You think you know everything. Obviously, that’s not always the case. My mother and I, we have had our ups and downs, but some of the things I’ve done as a teenager because I thought I knew better, that kind of disappointed her. I haven’t been the best child, but I am glad that we mended our relationship and that we can move forward. And I am seeing her attitude towards her job regardless of how difficult it gets, it’s what has helped mold me and helped change my mindset when it comes to giving back to the community.

Click play to hear a full interview with Tehillah below: 

A friend in high school died of suicide

Randall Urcuyo – Volunteer – Meals on Wheels – Hub Admin

We weren’t the smartest of men. We were kids living in the world of delusion, hoping to be something famous in all the wrong ways. It was a dark place in my life. People started dying. A friend in high school committed suicide. And yes, it was difficult. I didn’t even go to the funeral. To be honest I didn’t believe it. I didn’t really pay attention to what was happening to others. Yeah, I only cared about my friends who didn’t care about me and in turn made me care about nobody.

Click play to hear a full interview with Randall below: