The commitment, dedication and talent of our more than 350 volunteers is a hallmark for our organization, and a constant source of pride. Across our organization, we have been able to rely on this special group of people who make a tremendous impact on our clients and how we conduct business.
Last week, we gathered at Temple Sinai to honour this dedicated group, and also to recognize a few special people whose contributions have particularly stood out. The recognition awards they received are a small token of our appreciation for their important volunteer work.
The evening was highlighted by a presentation from Brain Fitness Expert Jill Hewlett, a licensed educational kinesiologist and Brain Gym® consultant. During her engaging talk, she led attendees through an interactive demonstration on how to “train the brain to use it to its fullest potential.”
The presentation was well received by those in attendance. “Having Jill present this wellness message was a real gift to those who volunteer,” said one attendee. “In serving others, it is still vital to ensure we look after our own emotional, mental and physical health.”
Thank you to our 350 volunteers who contributed 37,500 hours of volunteer time last year. We have many fulfilling volunteer opportunities available. If you’re interested in making a difference in the life of an elderly person, visit our Volunteer page to find out more.
People Helping People – United Chesed
Individuals and groups demonstrate commitment to community service every day. But too often these good deeds go unrecognized. Circle of Care’s People Helping People Award is presented to community members who demonstrate the highest levels of excellence in volunteer service and dedication to the community and Circle of Care. This year we honoured United Chesed, an organization that assists Jewish clients by providing urgent, short-term assistance to individuals with low incomes who are in need of additional support on occasion. This organization has an extensive network to raise funds to respond to requests for medical equipment, furniture, professional advice, housing, clothing, food, and employment. Over the past several years our Social Workers have reached out to United Chesed on behalf of clients in need, and they’ve always responded to our requests. Bernice Chaplin accepted the award on behalf of the organization.
Community Partnership – Bernard Betel
The Community Partnership Award is presented to an organization whose work with Circle of Care has consistently demonstrated collaborative partnership to support individual independence and quality of life in the community. This year’s recipient is Bernard Betel. Circle of Care and the Bernard Betel Centre have worked together for over 40 years on a number of partnerships including the annual Passover Seder, meal provision for ADP, clinic days, support groups, and much more. Julia Migounova accepted the award for Bernard Betel.
Jewish Hospice – Shalom Shapurkar
For more than 15 years, Shalom provided support, comfort and companionship to numerous hospice clients. His readiness to take on new challenges, his exceptional communication skills and his ability to know how to say the right thing makes him the ultimate hospice volunteer. Shalom’s visits make a significant contribution to our clients’ end of life care. He provides service that truly stands out and makes the client feel important.
For his commitment, dedication and the immeasurable comfort he brings to his clients, we congratulate Shalom on receiving this year’s hospice volunteer award.
Community Hospice – Eva Angyal
For the past 12 years Eva has been a part of our Community Hospice program, offering companionship and assisting with grocery shopping for a woman with MS. During this time, Eva has watched her client’s health and mobility decline with the progression of the disease. Eva’s commitment to supporting this client over the years and making a real difference in her life is commendable. Thank you Eva.
Kosher Meals on Wheels (Sepha) – Robin Whitehouse
Robin’s contribution to KMOW is outstanding. Over here two years of volunteer service, Robin has contributed many hours of service to the clients in our community. Always ready to lend an extra hand by delivering a few extra meals, regardless of weather conditions, demonstrate Robin’s compassion and tireless efforts for our program. Thank you Robin.
Kosher Meals on Wheels (Baycrest) – Mark Levine
Since starting as a KMOW driver in 2014, Mark has always been committed to our clients. As a driver, he Mark took the time to get to know the clients on his route who came to truly value his company. Capitalizing on Mark’s incredible organizational skills, he took on the role as a KMOW captain. Now Mark comes to Baycrest four times a week, to prepare routes for delivery and to make sure everything runs smoothly on delivery days. You can see Mark schmoozing with drivers early in the morning, explaining routes, and delivering when needed. Thank you Mark.
Friendly Visiting – Rachel and Matthew Lysenko
It is a great pleasure to see young people taking an active role in volunteering with seniors. This brother-sister duo has been matched with one of our Russian speaking clients for just over a year now. Their visits have made such a difference to our client, who looks forwards to the time she spends with them. Additionally their ability to be role models has paid off and their younger brother will now be joining his siblings as a friendly visitor with Circle of Care. Congratulations and thank you Matthew and Rachel.
Adult Day Program – Selma Elzas
Selma has been a part of our ADP family since 2014. Her warm and empathetic nature makes her a perfect fit for our clients and our program. Selma is always obliging, ready and willing to do whatever is asked of her, from helping set up for lunch, assisting with serving the meal, and encouraging client participation during our Morning Schmooze program. Selma has built a strong rapport with other volunteers, staff and students and always makes everyone feel special and heard. In addition, Selma has developed a special program called Inspirational Stories. It is a small group discussion-based program and under her direction, this program has grown each week. It is so popular, she has almost outgrown the space where she facilitates this program! Thank you, Selma.
Phone Pal – Xavier Pinto
Xavier has two clients, one who calls weekly to provide companionship and the other he calls on daily, Monday to Friday, to provide security checks. There have been a few occasions where Xavier has alerted us to concerns regarding one of his clients. Both clients speak highly of Xavier and enjoy their interactions with him. Thank you Xavier.
Years of Volunteer Service Milestones
5 Years: Michael Diamond, Leslie Daiter, Aviva Wonznica, Barbara Berman, Faye Swartz, Michael Somer, Cristina Reiner, Claudia Kugelmass, Bernard Keyes, Eli Katan, Calvin Avertick, Barry Shulman, Samuel Druck, David Altman, Caren Ludwig Shoychet and Jack Steiner
10 Years: Frances Sadoway, Robert Sive, David Silverman, Barry Holtzkener
15 Years: Judith Laxer, Sharon Sussman, Helen Switzer, Shalom Shapurkar, Ed Glina
20 Years: Bernice Royce, Harold Margles, Gillian Sarfin, Hyla Rubenstein
35 Years: Yona Barzilay and Ruth Margles
40 years: Vered Tal
Volunteer Advisory Committee
Finally, thank you to the members of this special committee who represent all of our volunteer supported programs.
• Bernice Royce and Cara Lubarsky: Adult Day Program volunteers
• Janet Chippin & Akemi Kato: Hospice volunteers
• Barbara Caplan: Kosher Meals on Wheels volunteers
• Barbara Cheng: Administrative volunteers
• Doreen Benou: Association of Jewish Seniors