Get to Know a Volunteer: Ulises
Ulises is committed to giving back to the community and supporting individuals. In 2019, he joined Circle of Care’s volunteer team as a Friendly Visitor, visiting Circle of Care clients and creating deep connections and friendships. In 2020, due to the pandemic, Friendly Visiting volunteers moved to supporting clients over the phone. Ulises continues to connect with clients as a Phone Pal volunteer, providing comfort and meaningful connections over the phone.
Ulises also volunteers with the 519, a non-profit organization committed to creating a safe and healthy space for 2SLGBTQ+ communities. He supports the 519 by assisting with their activities.
What inspired you to begin volunteering for Circle of Care?
I have a deep compassion for seniors and I like talking with them – even if they forget who I am. For example, I would call one of the clients and I would always have to re-introduce myself to them when they answer – which I found humorous. But, connecting with them is always nice.
Nine years ago, I came to Canada by myself. I had no family or friends here. So, I know what it feels like to be alone and isolated. My experience with older adults is that they just want to be noticed and loved, they never ask for money or food. That’s why I feel so attached to them, and why I can understand how they must feel to be alone. This motivates me to keep my connections with older adults.
Has volunteering changed your outlook in any way?
Yes, volunteering has changed my outlook on life, because it’s something you don’t get money for, but it fills your heart and soul. For many people it could be a small act of kindness or compassion that really means a lot to them, because it helps them know that they’re not alone. That’s the most important knowledge to have when volunteering.
Volunteering changed my outlook to life because there are people out there who are suffering who have greater needs but don’t complain or say anything. These people are inspiring, and they help me understand that the average person actually doesn’t have as much to complain about. They inspired me to try to avoid selfishness.
What’s one positive moment you remember at Circle of Care?
One positive moment I remember was when I was a Friendly Visitor (pre-pandemic) and we took some of the clients to go and explore different museums and there was a Messiah concert, and when I went with them to this outside concert their reactions just filled my heart, because they were like kids. They were all very happy and excited!
What’s one advice you would give to another volunteer or potential volunteer?
My best advice I can give to someone is to just to do it. It’s not something where your time is wasted just because you’re not getting money. It’s the smile that they show you and support you give. They teach you a lot. The seniors have lots to share, and they also learn from me as well.