Meet our Volunteers
Jocelyn: Volunteer Baker at Brenda's House
Jocelyn has been bringing smiles to families at Brenda’s House shelter for homeless children and their families for 4 years. Every week, she spends four hours or more in the sunny kitchen of Brenda’s House baking up wonderful treats.
She bring her own recipes and works with whatever is available at in the kitchen. Today’s treats are banana-themed due to some ripe bananas: banana cake (for supper dessert), banana chocolate chip muffins (for snacks and freezing) and maybe some cookies “if there’s time.”
Jocelyn is retired (a former injury adjuster for an insurance company.) She chose Brenda’s House for her volunteer commitment because she knows what she does is appreciated and brings smiles to those who need one. She says with a laugh: There is only so much baking I can fit in my own deepfreeze. It’s so nice to be able to bake for someone else where you know it is needed and appreciated.”
Kerry: Volunteer Cook at the Crisis Nursery
Every day, children at the Crisis Nursery get home-cooked meals and snacks prepared on-site. Every second Friday afternoon, for the past five years, volunteer cook Kerry has been stepping in to help make supper. He also helps out at Brenda’s House for special occasions as well.
Tonight, it’s hamburgers, potato wedges, and salad for supper. Kerry is making the hamburgers and wedges and staff cook Vicki is making the salad. Kerry explains why he volunteers in this role: “I want to do my part the best way that I can. And I do that by cooking because I like to cook. I grew up in a single-parent family so I want to help out in any way that I can.”
As for why he chose the Crisis Nursery to volunteer, Kerry says: “I like coming here because the staff and volunteers are genuinely good people who want to do good. Everyone here loves kids. It’s a good place to volunteer because it’s appreciated.”
Marissa: Volunteer at Brenda's House
Every Monday morning, and every other Thursday evening, for almost four years, Marissa has been volunteering at Brenda’s House where she cares for/plays with children. Marissa explains: “I might help with an infant in the Child Development Centre or I might be playing board games or hide and seek with a couple of 10-year-olds. Sometimes I might be working on a specific skill with a child like cleaning up before moving onto a new activity. Other times, it’s just about the children just having fun and having someone to play with.”
Marissa is studying biology at university with the hopes of moving into pediatric medicine. She says: “I really love kids,” she says. “And I think it is really important that families get the help they need.”
Her advice to future volunteers: “Don’t be scared to start. I was shy when I first got here but it’s a lot of fun and I work with great people who are kind and helpful.”
Angela: Volunteer at the Crisis Nursery
For four years, Angela has been coming to the Crisis Nursery, doing yoga with the children staying there. She says with a laugh: “Sometimes it’s yoga. And other times it turns into reading stories and snuggling.”
Tonight turns out to be a “yoga” night. Of the six children in the playroom, two are interested in doing fun yoga poses with Angela. All three of them sit down on the floor mats and stretch their arms in the air. They cross their legs and then join hands.
Angela notes how focused they are, especially one young girl. “We’ve tried to do yoga a few times before and this is the first time she’s been able to really engage.” As Angela crouches down on the floor, the young girl climbs lightly onto her back and they both spread their arms wide like a bird.
Angela says; “I love volunteering here. I love the kids. Some of these children have challenges and yoga can help children on the physical and emotional level. This work is one of the most rewarding things that I do. I go home at the end of the night happy.”