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Get to Know a Volunteer: Brian Wong

1) What inspired you to begin volunteering for Circle of Care?

When I was entering my final year of high school two years ago, I felt that I lacked opportunities and experiences to develop and apply my interpersonal skills. Having decided to step out of my comfort zone and give back to my local community, I applied to Circle of Care as a Hospice Volunteer and haven’t looked back since.

2) Is there a specific moment you recall while volunteering that made you feel like you made a real difference?

I made weekly visits to my very first client for about a month before they passed away from their illness. About two weeks later, I received a letter in the mail from Circle of Care containing a handwritten card left by the family of the client. In it, they talked about how they appreciated how I volunteered my time and support for their family when they needed it the most. From then on, I knew that every second and action you spend volunteering makes a positive difference in someone else’s life.

3) Has volunteering changed your outlook in any way?

Volunteering has definitely changed the way I view and my daily interactions with friends and family. Having experienced the loss of a client in the past, I try to do everything within my ability to make the most out of every moment with the different people in my life.

4) What makes a good volunteer?

A good volunteer is someone who is empathetic and considerate of a client’s thoughts and emotions – even if it may differ from your own. They are also willing to dedicate their personal time and effort to try to build meaningful connections with the client.

5) What advice would you give to someone who is considering a volunteer position?

Be flexible! Not just relating to time, but also new experiences as well. Keeping an open mind to new ideas and experiences will allow you to make the most out of your volunteer experience. Not everything will go exactly how you imagined – and it’s not a bad thing at all!

6) What are your interests outside of volunteering?

Outside of volunteering, I enjoy travelling and exploring different places and their cultures. In my free time, I also enjoy listening to music, watching the latest movies, and catching up with friends and family.

7) Do you have any words to live by?

“What I did each day would determine the kind of person I’d become” – Col. Chris Hadfield

8) What is the most recent book you read?

A memorable book that I’ve read recently is “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseini. It’s an emotional story that details the impact that past decisions may play on our lives.

9) Where is “home”?

As the famed quote goes, “Home is where the heart is”. Being born and raised in Toronto, I feel a strong emotional connection to this city. I hope to continue living and working here in the foreseeable future as well.

10) Chocolate or Vanilla?

Hard choice, but I would choose Vanilla. I always get Vanilla ice cream cravings randomly throughout the year!