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Piers, a dedicated Circle of Care Volunteer committed to multiple programs.

Piers is, simply said, a jack-of-all-volunteering at Circle of Care. He delivers meals, entertains people with music at the Adult Day Program, facilitates classes on caregiving, and represents Circle of Care at various community events.

“It’s a fair bit of volunteering,” he admits, with a smile.

It all started in 2019, when he took a course with his wife, Lana (also a volunteer at Circle of Care), to learn how to facilitate workshops on Building Better Caregivers. Shortly after this, the pandemic started, in-person workshops were cancelled, and Piers found himself looking for ways to be “part of a solution.”

“At the time, I wasn’t employed and I realized I didn’t want to go back to an office, corporate job,” Piers remembers. So, in 2020, he started delivering meals for the Meals on Wheels program with his car. “It’s a good way to get into volunteering. You only do it once a week for a few hours and you have a set route.”

A year later, he joined his wife in being a Circle of Care Ambassador: setting up exhibitor tables at various local events to share information with the community about the programs and services available through the organization. Once the pandemic subsided, he and Lana began running the caregiving workshops. They are already doing their third one this year, providing caregivers with a safe space to share their experiences and obtain much-needed resources.

Through his volunteer involvement, Piers also began picking up a few shifts driving the Meals on Wheels refrigerated truck, which means he has routes that take him further north into York Region.

“The uptown route is lots of fun, less traffic, lots of really nice people. There is a lovely dog in one of the houses I deliver to that sees the truck and is at the door before I even get to it, ready for a belly rub,” says Piers.

One of Piers’s favourite volunteering gigs, however, may be his most recent one with the Adult Day Program.

“I play the African drum at the Adult Day Program to people who are living with various stages of dementia,” says Piers. “It’s a creative outlet for me and I see from their faces that it’s lots of fun for them too ­– many people come out of their shells, some dance and clap or drum along. “

He was especially struck by one of the participants who was “the spitting image” of his late mother. “For weeks, I couldn’t get any reaction from her,” he remembers. “Then, after a few sessions, she finally started to smile and drum along. I got through to her!”

When asked about his dedication to volunteering, Piers says it’s all about the visible difference he is making. “When you work for a corporation, you’re helping the corporation and you may not see the impact you’re having. But now that I’m gearing my energy towards volunteering, I’m helping actual people and I can see that I’m helping.  Volunteering, in fact, helps both me and them.”