Tag: volunteer

A Year in Review

A Year in Review

2016 was a great year for us at Community Home Support – Lanark County (CHSLC) and I couldn’t be happier with the accomplishments of our staff and volunteers.

I entered into this profession many years ago, seeing a need to help seniors and adults with disabilities maintain a level of independence and respect living at home.  I just wanted to be a part of it – to help those who made our community a place to live and grow memories.  In all of my years with CHSLC, I have worked with many wonderful people who share this same vision.  This year was no different.

This past year we saw a colleague and friend, Doris, retire after many years of working at various office locations across the county.  We also welcomed Pam and Susan to our family.  I was reminded just how much we have grown especially when staff member, Olivia, brought baby Liam, the newest and youngest member of our family to see us.

We continue to rise to the challenge of growing our services to serve more clients in our county.  We now produce our own frozen meals, improving upon the quality and quantity.  This has been met with applause and appreciation from our clients.  The increase in referrals from the region’s hospitals, provide us with further opportunities to help those wanting to remain in their home independently as long as possible.

We are grateful for the support of our local communities – Perth, Lanark, Smiths Falls, Carleton Place and Pakenham – and of course our many volunteers.

On this note, I would like to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year on behalf of the entire CHSLC family.

Mary Anne Nicholson,  Executive Director

Advertisements
Gratitude For Our Amazing Volunteers

Gratitude For Our Amazing Volunteers

We are beyond grateful for our CHSLC volunteers. They make a world of difference in the lives of our clients. Time and time again we observe certain qualities in our volunteers – qualities that make them the stellar volunteers that that they are. Our volunteers show:

  • Generosity – a willingness to give their time to others
  • Understanding – because our clients’ lives are often very different from their own
  • Empathy – an ability to put themselves in someone else’s shoes and feel what they must feel
  • Compassion – to truly care about making someone else’s life better
  • Patience – because the process doesn’t always go as smoothly as it might
  • Dedication – to stick with the project and see it through

Thank you to our volunteers for all that you do! Now it’s time to brag a bit about what our volunteers have accomplished this year. From April 1, 2015 to March 31, 2016:

  • 407 volunteers served 2,460 clients while donating an incredible 68,134 hours of time!
  • Our Hospice/Palliative Care volunteers provided support to 194 clients in their homes, the hospital setting and at our Hospice Day program. This support and compassion was also extended to families facing the loss of loved ones via caregiver support and bereavement support programs.
  • Our Meals On Wheels volunteers delivered over 39,000 hot and frozen meals to more than 400 clients. For many seniors, the trusted Meals On Wheels volunteer who comes to their door with a warm smile is the only person they speak to or see all day.
  • Our Diner’s Club volunteers served over 5,000 meals and provided entertaining, insightful and fun programs to more than 400 clients.
  • Our Escorted Transportation volunteers drove nearly one million kilometres, ensuring that 794 clients got to their medical appointments and treatments on time, and helped them navigate through the hospital hallways.
  • Whether it is a short chat on the telephone or a visit at home, our Friendly Visiting/Security Reassurance volunteers provided more than 900 clients with a sense of security and friendship.
  • And let’s not forget all of our volunteers who helped with awareness events, musical events and fundraisers over the past year.

Once again, our volunteers have proven the difference they make in the lives of our clients, seniors, adults with physical disabilities, and persons who have been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness and/or palliative diagnosis. To all of our amazing volunteers who go above and beyond to help our clients, THANK YOU!!!

 Volunteer with us! We have a variety of programs and services and our volunteers are integral to their success. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, we need your help! Visit Volunteer with CHSLC for more information. We’ll work around your schedule to find a volunteer position that best suits your interests and skill set.

Featured photo: A small group of our dedicated volunteers in Pakenham.

Diner’s Club Volunteers: Why They Do It

Diner’s Club Volunteers: Why They Do It

What’s not to love about our Diner’s Club? Clients enjoy the delicious meals – tasty soups, hearty sandwiches and yummy desserts. They also look forward to playing cards and socializing with friends – some old, some new, all a delight to catch up with each week. But it isn’t just our clients who love what Diner’s Club has to offer. It’s our volunteers too! Three of our Pakenham Diner’s Club volunteers explain why they love their roles as volunteers:

Mary Throughout her four years of involvement with the Diner’s Club, Mary has realized something vital. You just can’t overstate the importance of social interaction on people’s well being. “Humans are social creatures and, as you age, the social connection becomes very important.”

Volunteering with the Diner’s Club gives Mary the opportunity to be a part of a meaningful social event while only having a couple of hours each month to volunteer. CHSLC makes it easy for her and other volunteers who want to give their time to help out in a way that suits their time availability.

Mary acknowledges that many of the Diner’s Club participants used to be volunteers and now continue to come for the lunch and social interaction. “It’s the greatest program I know for positive effect on the community. I will keep coming long after I am no longer able to volunteer.”

Diane – As one of six siblings in her family, Diane is involved in caring for her mother who has Alzheimer’s. She finds that bringing her mom to these events keeps her mom’s mind sharp.

Diane and her mom love the food but really value the social connection. Her mom is a terrific card player (just ask any of the other participants) and Diane is happy that she can bring her mom to a place each week that gets them both involved and keeps their minds active. “This club helps my mom with her memory. There can be a day when her memory is not so good, but then she comes here and remembers everyone and every hand of cards.”

Diane is happy to volunteer with a program that acts as a helpful boost to its participants’ health and well-being.

Helen – For the past five years, Helen has been volunteering with the Diner’s Club once every six weeks. She is able to volunteer in a way that fits her lifestyle and allows her to pay it forward. Paying it forward is a motto that Helen lives by and she feels that more people could benefit from this life philosophy.

By paying it forward, Helen herself is also benefiting.  She loves the social connection and is able to be involved with a great group of people. She feels like a valued member of a special community.

Thank you to all of our incredible volunteers who are so willing to give their time to help others. We couldn’t do what we do without you!

Diner Club Volunteers
From right to left: Helen, Mary, Myrna, Doreen and Diane

Learn more about volunteer opportunities, by visiting our website and reading more about volunteering through our other articles.

Making a Difference in the Community

Making a Difference in the Community

Ryan is proud to be following in the footsteps of his Great-Uncle George who delivered Meals on Wheels for 30 years. He loves helping people and enjoys listening to some fun tunes while he’s on the road.

Ryan has a developmental disability but Lanark County Support Services (LCSS) offers programs to him and others like him so they can develop skills that contribute to them living independently.

LCSS offers person-directed supports and services for individuals with developmental disabilities, with an emphasis on self-determination, achievement of personal goals/outcomes, building relationships and community connection.

Through cooperation with Community Home Support Lanark County (CHSLC), which provides services and supports including Meals on Wheels for seniors and adults with physical disabilities, Ryan is able to volunteer alongside his helper Lianna. Together, they deliver nutritious meals to local seniors who look forward to receiving a hearty meal and a warm smile from the pair.

By helping deliver Meals on Wheels, Ryan is improving on skills like reading and is learning the importance of being punctual and kind. He is also developing a great work ethic, which will go a long way to allowing him to live independently.

During one delivery, Ryan and Lianna had to call 911 to help a CHSLC client who was in distress. If not for their quick thinking and actions, that situation might not have had a good ending.

LCSS has a variety of programs, such as: Transition Support Services to ease the transition of young adults from school to the community; Life Skills Experience and Supports; Activity Centres for seniors; Community Engagement Networking and Social Experience; Person-directed Apartment Living; and Innovative House Planning and Supports.

Ryan participates in Life Skills Experiences and Supports, which provides individuals with opportunities to become more independent in their homes, in their communities and at work through individualized planning and instruction/job coaching. Independence is fostered through a functional creative approach. Examples include: cooking; budgeting; banking; personal grooming; organizational skills; literacy skills; cleaning/upkeep of personal home environments; recreational/social experiences; and travel.

LCSS and CHSLC are two exceptional, community-focused organizations which only become stronger when they work together to make a difference in the lives of people who need assistance. To instill altruistic values in individuals with developmental disabilities, and also give them the opportunity to make a difference in their community, is a wonderful thing.

Meet Our Volunteer: Doreen

Meet Our Volunteer: Doreen

Doreen’s delicious soups are warm and comforting – just like her personality. For 15 years, this former professional cook has been creating soup masterpieces for CHSLC’s Pakenham Diner’s Club. She became involved in the Diner’s Club through her daughter Myrna, a client services assistant for CHSLC. Doreen’s and Myrna’s roles have expanded over the years – in fact most diners will agree that they are the heart and soul of the Diner’s Club.

Doreen rarely needs a recipe, even though she seldom makes the same soup twice. Her repertoire is expansive and her soups never fail to delight the taste buds of the diners. While each soup is tremendous, a fan favourite is her homemade tomato soups.

Each week Doreen sets the menu and prepares some of the meal ahead of time at home. She then loads the ingredients into two Little Red Riding Hood-style baskets and makes her way to Five Arches, where Diner’s Club takes place. Once there, other volunteers such as Helen, Mary and Diane, will help to prepare the sandwiches and bring the desserts, but the soup is always Doreen’s baby.

With Doreen’s many years of experience working in a kitchen and several years preparing the meals for Diner’s Club, the weekly event goes off without a hitch – usually. She and some other volunteers recall a cooking fiasco where it was assumed the eggs brought in for egg salad sandwiches had already been cooked. They hadn’t. While stressful at the time, the ladies laugh about it now.

Doreen’s time spent volunteering isn’t just about preparing great food. It’s also about connecting with the clients. She loves hearing the stories and laughter coming from diners as they’re playing cards before lunch. And after the food is prepared she always heads out to the dining room to visit and chat.

For Doreen and the other Diner’s Club volunteers, their involvement in this weekly event is about being grateful for their own health and well-being and paying it forward. As passionate as Doreen is about cooking, she feels the same passion for helping others.  Thank you Doreen for all that you do and the other volunteers as well!

(Featured in picture: Myrna on the left, Doreen on the right)

Visit our website to learn more about our services or contact us anytime.

Meet Our Volunteer Dave

Meet Our Volunteer Dave

There are many reasons why our volunteers dedicate their time and energy to helping us help others. For some, it’s about connecting with people, sharing stories and experiences. For others, it’s simply about having the time.

Our whole lives we look forward to the end of our working career. We want to stop the busy train and get off at Retirement Station. We dream of this day. But, as we hear time and again, taking a break from our daily routines and the working life is not all it’s cracked up to be. Sure, the first few weeks or months of retirement are blissful, but what about after that? As humans we need to keep moving and feel useful to live a balanced life — at any age.

“Retired is being twice tired, I’ve thought. First tired of working, then tired of not.” ~Richard Armour

One of our long-time volunteers, Dave, told us he began volunteering because he had the time. As a former member of the military he was used to working hard and for a purpose. Dave knew right away that he didn’t like the stand-still life that retirement awarded him. He liked not having the stress associated with work, but he missed the routine and noticed that he had a lot of time available to him. He wanted to be busy again and work with an organization that could really use his help.

Organizations like ours are always in need of volunteers and monetary donations. We have a strong group of people who are dependable, reliable and glad to help. But, the reality is we have a lot of programs! Fulfilling the needs of each department takes volunteers with various skill sets. Someone like Dave who works in our cafe and drives for Meals on Wheels is just as important to us as our volunteers who visit with our clients for afternoon tea. He’s just as important as the person who clicks on the “Donate” button on our website and makes a monetary contribution to our programs. We all have different skill sets, strengths and available time that can be useful to our beloved clientele.

Dave began volunteering as a driver for our Meals on Wheels program and delivered hot meals to our clientele in the area. When his granddaughter came to visit, his volunteering didn’t stop — he brought her along with him. When you deliver meals to a client’s home time after time, you get to know the person well. We always ask how the person is doing and engage in a little small talk before getting in the car and driving to the next house. When Dave’s granddaughter came along on the car rides, he introduced her to the clients and they warmed up to the sight of her then 4 year old face! Now, Dave’s granddaughter is 18 years old and the last time that she came to visit, she went on a Meals on Wheels tour with her grandfather again.

As an organization we are working to create a community within our community. Seniors and persons with disabilities tend to feel isolated and alone. When people like Dave drop off meals to our clients, they’re bringing a sense of community to our clients’ front door. By engaging in conversation and introducing his granddaughter to our clients, Dave is furthering the community and giving our clients a sense of belonging.

Dave as well as all our volunteers are important to our organization — we truly would not be able to operate without them. Thank you.