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Get to Know a Volunteer: Jessica Proctor

Jessica Proctor is a volunteer with the Friendly Visiting program at Circle of Care.

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

I began volunteering at Circle of Care through a student placement offered by my school. The description for Volunteer Services appeared to be the most diverse experience, and I knew I would gain a lot of applicable knowledge there. On the first day of my placement, I was assigned to a Friendly Visiting client, and throughout the school year I created a really great bond with her. Once the school year was over, I decided I would continue on as a volunteer with her, as we had become really great friends.

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

There was one instance when my client answered the phone while I was there and mentioned that I was over but she could still talk. That individual made a comment along the lines of “Why would you ignore someone who is right in front of you for a phone call?”, to which she replied “I know Jessica will come back next Wednesday, but I don’t know when you will call again.” I knew then that she really appreciated the consistency I provided in our visits.

I also remember the first time I missed my regular visits for a few weeks while I visited my parents for the Christmas break. When I returned, her regular PSW saw me and talked about how grateful they were that I was back because whenever I am around my client is in a great mood.

3) Has volunteering changed your outlook in any way?

Volunteering definitely has changed my outlook. I have learned to appreciate quality time with people in my life more, as even a few dedicated hours can completely change someone’s mood.

Also, being a part of the volunteer services and getting to interact with a number of clients from various programs, as well as seeing the wait lists for the socialization services was really eye-opening and made me appreciate volunteering even more.

4) What makes a good volunteer?

A good volunteer is someone who is committed, both to the client as their friend but also to the responsibilities entailed in being a volunteer. I have found that consistency in my visits are really important, both for my own schedule as well as for my client’s, and everything goes smoother when it’s consistent.

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

The small sacrifices that are made to be a volunteer (time mainly), can mean the world to the client you’re paired with. Seeing the changes in your client’s mood due to something so little is so rewarding.

Also, just be open to the experience. Not every client will be ready to open up to you the first time you visit, and the first visit may feel like it went terribly, but its important to remain positive and try again next week with them.

6) What are your interests outside of volunteering?

I enjoy summer-related activities like hiking, swimming, kayaking, and biking.

7) Do you have any words to live by?

If you never try, you’ll always fail.

8) What is the most recent book you read?

“Baba’s Kitchen Medicines: Folk Remedies of Ukrainian Settlers in Western Canada.”
It was for a class but a very interesting read.

9) Where is “home”?

Originally, Collingwood, but I enjoy living in Toronto

10) Chocolate or vanilla?