Photo: Mary Dunbar, volunteer for three years
Who are our volunteers?
Every year, almost 450 volunteers give 25,000 hours to children, families and staff. Who are those amazing women and men that take their personal time to help others? Well, here are three of them: Mary, Marion and Elizabeth. What an inspiring trio!
Mary is a volunteer at the MCH; this young woman’s dream is to be a pediatrician. At first, she saw volunteering at the MCH as a way to get experience and become familiar with the setting of a pediatric hospital. But as time passed, she soon realized that she was getting a lot more out of it. Not only is she more motivated to study hard to become a doctor, but she also feels good about helping people.
“It’s one of the best experiences of my life,” she says with contagious enthusiasm. Mary is the type of person who buys a coffee for a homeless person; wanting to help others is natural for her. It is an essential quality when you want to volunteer…and also when you want to become a doctor.
“I love doing this – I love children. It doesn’t matter how I feel when I come here, when I leave I have a smile on my face.” And she’s been putting smiles on patients’ faces for almost three years!
More than six years ago, Marion was visiting a cousin in hospital who had just given birth when she saw a child leaving for surgery. He was by himself with no parents in sight. It was an image that touched Marion so much, she decided she had to do something.
Since then, Marion has been giving MCH patients the care and attention they need, as she helps families going through hard times with her presence and sensitivity. Being a mom of two young boys who are 11 and 12 years old, she has experience with children, but she also has a desire to help others. “You never get tired of doing this,” she says, “I’m always here the same day at the same time.”
For Marion, volunteering has been a rewarding experience. “The kids give us so much, we learn from them. We realize that our life is so easy compared to theirs; it puts everything in perspective,” she says. Marion really makes a difference in our patients’ and their families’ lives.
Elizabeth is not new to volunteering. This gem of a woman has been doing volunteer work for quite some time. She has volunteered at the Douglas Hospital, the Montreal General and is now part of the MCH team.
Mother of three and grandmother of eleven, this former nurse says that she would rather give time to the children than play bridge. “I love every second of it,” she says. “I’ve met so many wonderful people here.” She adds, “Doing this is one of the greatest joys of my life! You can’t imagine how rewarding is to see a smile on a child’s face.”
Elizabeth is very devoted and we’re very proud and honoured at the MCH to have her as one of our volunteers.
A note from the Volunteer Services Coordinator
This is National Volunteer Week, so I thought I’d write a few words of thanks to all the dedicated volunteers who work so hard for the benefit of our community.
From the parent who breaks into a smile as they see the familiar red apron or a child concentrating on a storytelling, to a teen working on a drawing or a parent taking a break while their little one is being held, everything you do makes a such a big difference to families going through difficult times. Thanks to all of you for giving from the heart to help our families and patients.