Canuck Place is supported by over 300 compassionate volunteers who help out with everything from kitchen work and housekeeping, to driving, to directly working with Canuck Place children and families.
Four family volunteers took a break from their regular Thursday morning shift to talk about their experience at Canuck Place: Bruce, David, Lorena, and Prabh.
As family volunteers they work with kids on the Canuck Place program, and their siblings. What they do each week depends on who’s in the house and what they want to do. They could help with homework, sit in the snoozelan room, work on an art project, lead a hockey game outside, or simply sit quietly with a child and watch TV or read a book.
Each day is different, but they do know that when they arrive they’ll be sharing special moments, and helping families who often simply need a break.
“Canuck Place really is a gift to these families, and to be a part of that gift is really special,” said Bruce, volunteer of 10 years. “These families are under a lot of stress, and hopefully for a few minutes, or for a few hours, we’re able to lift some of that stress off of them.”
Many of the volunteers form lasting connections with the families they work with.
“Some people say it must be so hard to volunteer here,” said Lorena. “For me, it’s a matter of your expectation. If I come in here thinking, I just want to get a smile out of a child, and that’s my expectation, every time I do, I come home feeling great.”
All four agreed that there’s a special feeling at Canuck Place.
“I was impressed with the feeling that you get when you’re here, the positive, happy environment,” explained Lorena. “No task is too big. We can get it done.”
David recalled one day, when he was helping a young boy make a Mother’s Day card.
“He expressed real concerns, not for himself, but for his family, because of his illness.” David recalled. “He said to me, ‘I want to make this really special, because I don’t think I’m going to see another Mother’s Day.’ The fact that he felt comfortable, and had the support to talk about it… Canuck Place is a very safe place for families. They can share their feelings, and know they’re not alone.”
“I don’t make a difference every day that I’m here,” added Bruce. “But Canuck Place makes a difference every day of it’s existence. And I’m just a part of that.”
Compassion is featured in 2016’s 12 Gratitudes. Follow along as we share joy and gratitude.