April 18-24th is National Volunteer Week. While we try to sing our volunteers’ praises every day, National Volunteer Week is a time where the spotlight is on volunteers throughout the country.
Here are the stories of just a few of the amazing volunteers that make our work possible.
Volunteer Spotlight: Kayla Pearon & Nadia Kolesnikova
Youth Leaders, Kayla Pearon and Nadia Kolesnikova, choose to give their time to the Children’s Grief Centre Hangout and Village drop-in programs. Their desire to help grieving families is motivated by their own experiences with loss.
Kayla, now 23, came to the Children’s Grief Centre when she was 16 following the death of her father. “I was going through a really hard time, as well as my family…losing my father at just 16”, says Kayla. “The Children’s Grief Centre helped my family get through”.
Nadia echoes many of Kayla’s sentiments about the value of the Children’s Grief Centre services. When Nadia’s brother suddenly died in 2016, she shares that was, “in a really negative mindset and was just sort of spiraling”.
Nadia speaks to the Children’s Grief Centre services saying, “I am just very grateful I found the Children’s Grief Centre. If I hadn’t, I don’t know where I would be today”.
One of the critical aspects of our drop-in groups is that families have the opportunity to connect with others who truly understand the impact of grief. Kayla, Nadia, and all of our Youth Leaders bring that understanding to their volunteer work at Hospice Calgary.
Kayla wants everyone walking through the Children’s Grief Centre doors to know that they are not alone; “It is ok to be nervous. It is important to remember that everyone walking into this building feels the exact same way. It is a safe, comforting, and warm place to be.”
We are incredibly grateful to have volunteers like Kayla and Nadia on our team. The excitement they bring to their volunteer roles is undeniable, and it shines through their work. When asked about her volunteer role, Nadia lit up and exclaimed, “If I can make a kid laugh for a couple of hours of an evening than I’ve done my job and it makes me very happy.”
Volunteer Spotlight: Vicky Smith
Vicky came to Hospice Calgary 19 years ago following the loss of her husband. She was searching for support for her 7 year old son and came across our Kid’s Club program.
Kid’s Club helped Vicky to communicate to her son about the death of his father and also to learn from others who were experiencing a similar type of grief. Vicky’s involvement in this program inspired her to become a volunteer and we couldn’t be happier that she
chose to join our team.
Vicky has been involved with Hospice Calgary in a number of ways. She started as a reception volunteer at Rosedale Hospice and then moved into Telephone Bereavement Services, where she provided monthly phone calls to bereaved family members of Rosedale Hospice and the Living With Cancer Program. Vicky and her son have also participated in our annual Hike for Hospice event for ten years.
Vicky beams when you ask her about her volunteer experience. Recently she shared, “Every time I am a part of it I feel so welcomed.
You are in a safe environment. People are easy to talk to and you are supported.”
Vicky has helped so much over the years and we consider ourselves lucky to be able to call her a part of the Hospice Calgary family. We wish her well as she hangs up her volunteer hat and continues her career as a school counsellor.