What do you imagine when you picture someone volunteering? Are they running the grill at a barbecue fundraiser? Maybe coaching a children’s sports team? Did you know volunteers are an integral part of Saskatchewan’s health-care system, as well?
“We are truly thankful for every volunteer we have,” said Ray Brady, volunteer services manager in Regina, noting that April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week. This year’s theme is “Celebrate the Value of Volunteering – building confidence, competence, connections and community.”
“Every day, volunteers make the difference for our clients,” he said. “Some of the programs throughout the province include Meals on Wheels, where volunteers deliver hot meals to those who cannot cook for themselves. Volunteers also take the time to offer kind words over the phone through programs like Telefriend. They even provide respite services and transportation for family and caregivers.
“Our companion volunteers provide friendship to clients who may be lonely by visiting with them in their home,” continued Brady.
“I would like to give a big thank-you to all the volunteers who devote so much of their time to clients and their families.”
Some Saskatchewan Health Authority volunteers who regularly give their time aren’t even old enough to vote.
Two such people are Luke and Will Shevkenek, 14 and 11 years old, respectively. The two play piano in the common room on the seventh floor of Saskatoon’s City Hospital for one hour every week for patients and residents to enjoy.
“It’s small acts of kindness like this that can really make a patient’s day,” said Tammy Jackson, manager of the volunteer workforce at Saskatoon City Hospital. “It takes their minds off any hardships while they listen to the music.”
Sometimes volunteers take on tasks that can be emotionally difficult, such as supporting palliative patients and their families.
“Volunteers visit patients and family members, they deliver fresh baked goods and even fresh flowers,” said Marlene Jackson, volunteer and bereavement co-ordinator, palliative care services in Regina. Jackson noted that one such volunteer has been making deliveries for 20 years.
“They, and palliative volunteers across the province, are a comfort to family members, who may have been at a loved one’s bedside for hours, by providing comfort, companionship and support. They are instrumental in delivering our bereavement programming, including facilitation of grief support groups, one-on-one follow-up phone support and our bi-annual Heart 2 Heart Family Grief Retreat,” she said.
Because it would be impossible to publicly thank each and every one of our loyal volunteers, a number of areas will host volunteer appreciation luncheons and other functions to celebrate these efforts. Special recognition will be given to volunteers who have donated extraordinary amounts of time to these endeavours.
“We have so many amazing, dedicated volunteers who put their hearts into the work that they do. Not only am I able to see the huge difference our services make in the lives of our clients and residents, but I also get to see the positive impact they have made in the lives of our volunteers,” said Jennifer Gordon, co-ordinator of volunteer services in Lloydminster.
The efforts of our volunteers in numerous capacities make the health-care system a friendlier, happier, warmer place thanks to the big hearts, kind words and comforting smiles of each of our volunteers. Thank you.
The following photo collection is a tribute to volunteers — those people who selflessly give their time and talents to support patients, clients and residents.
Roberto and Ingry Roman volunteer to deliver Meals on Wheels in Weyburn.
Volunteers Dorothy Hardene and Barb DeVries help residents make Christmas crafts in Shaunavon Hospital and Care Centre.
Laurie Sampson, Regina, volunteers her time to support pediatrics.
Volunteers prepare baking for a Heart 2 Heart Grief Retreat. Regina area offered grief retreats in the past year – one in July and the second this past January. These events were made possible with the help of approximately 50 volunteers. They helped with all aspects of the day including facilitation of grief sharing circles, meal preparation, welcoming participants, organizing the day’s activities and leading the memorial service.
Volunteers prepare Christmas treats for Meals on Wheels recipients in Weyburn.
Alfred Nordahl enjoys the company of a kitten which volunteer Kelsey Hewins brought to the Shaunavon Hospital and Care Home for a visit.
Jennifer Gordon, coordinator of Volunteer Services for Lloydminster, Sarah Kettle, former coordinator of Volunteer Services for Lloydminster, Darlene Kingwell, manager of Volunteer Service for North Battleford, Meadow Lake and Lloydminster.
Barry and Gail Golden, Meals on Wheels volunteers in Lloydminster, pick up their deliveries from the Dr. Cooke Extended Care Facility where the meals are prepared for our clients.