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Get to Know a Volunteer: Bruno-Carl Gagnon

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

I began volunteering with Circle of Care because I wanted to make a difference in someone’s life and spread some love on this beautiful earth. After looking for volunteering opportunities online, I saw that Circle of Care had great programs. The Friendly Visiting program specifically stood out to me because I wanted to create a genuine connection through my volunteer experience.

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

I meet regularly with this amazing woman. She lost her husband two years ago and doesn’t get out much. Some days she feels lonelier than others. When I call to talk and offer to visit, she says genuinely, “I would love a visit, Bruno. You are exactly what I need today.” It feels rewarding to know that I am truly making a difference in her life.

3) Has volunteering changed your outlook in any way?

I have seen that small gestures can really make a difference in another person’s life. I now try to consciously do good in my everyday life, everywhere I go, something as small as holding the door for an elderly person or offering to help a mother at a restaurant.

4) What makes a good volunteer?

Anyone can be a good volunteer! Having the desire to make this place a better world is a good place to start. It’s so rewarding to experience the feeling of making someone else happy.

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

Start with a small gesture and see how that makes you feel. You’ll feel good about yourself (I guarantee it!). There’s no better reward than the feeling that you’ve helped someone else. Find a volunteer opportunity that you feel connected to, where you can make a difference and enjoy yourself as well.

6) What are your interests outside of volunteering?

I travel a lot for work but also for pleasure! I love to discover different cultures and learn from others. I go to many concerts and love to try new restaurants!

7) Do you have any words to live by?

I believe in karma- that every good you do on this planet will come back to you in some form or way. Stay positive because that affects everyone around you: your colleagues, your family and your relationships with others! Life is short; make the best out of it!

8) What is the most recent book you read?

The last book I read was Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl. It’s based on Frankl’s time spent in a concentration camp during WWII and how he survived through hard times. It also reflects on the goodness of people through darkness and how to stay positive and help others.

9) Where is “home”?

For the last nine years, home has been Toronto, although I’m originally from Québec. But with all the travelling I do, I consider San Francisco my second home!

10) Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate cake and vanilla ice cream! I love sweets!