Each year, during National Volunteer Week, Circle of Care takes tremendous pride in recognizing the contributions of our 400+ outstanding volunteers. From our earliest days more than 40 years ago, our organization has benefited from their selfless commitment and the vital role they play in the health of our community.
“This week, we recognize the collective efforts of volunteers, and reflect on the multitude of actions taken locally to help people, communities, and neighbourhoods become better prepared to respond to the unexpected, and better positioned for a more sustainable future,” said Lisa Rae, Manager, Volunteer Services. “We see it every day at Circle of Care! Volunteers visiting, calling, delivering food or programs to clients, lifting their spirits and keeping them connected. You never know what can give others a lift during a difficult day.”
Carey Lucki, CEO, Circle of Care and VP, Sinai Health System, underscored the significance of these contributions, especially as they related to the current political climate. “Your phone conversations, your social visits, your meal deliveries and safety checks, the dining and café program – all of these efforts contribute to keeping people out of emergency rooms and hospital beds,” she said. “If our new government wants to balance its budget and fund cost savings, it needs to pay attention to Home and Community Service organizations ours, which support volunteers to make meaningful contributions in the community. Our volunteers play a direct role in helping to end ‘hallway medicine.’”
The evening was highlighted by the presentation of awards to a few special volunteers, as well as a talk from motivation speaker Sunjay Nath, who led the audience through an interactive and laugh-filled session that challenged participants to question barriers and personal biases.
If you know someone interested in making a difference, we have many opportunities listed on our website.
People Helping People Award – Lorne Propas
Circle of Care’s People Helping People Award is presented to community members who demonstrate the highest levels of excellence in volunteer service and dedication to the community and Circle of Care. This year’s award was presented to Lorne Propas, a caregiver who greatly benefitted from the support of a volunteer through the Jewish Hospice Program. As a result of Lorne’s extremely positive experience, he set up the Wednesdays With Lolly Volunteer Education Fund, and the Lolly Hope Fund. Wednesdays with Lolly is an endowment fund created to recognize the amazing work of our hospice volunteers through an annual volunteer education event. The Lolly Hope Fund, managed by the Jewish Foundation of Greater Toronto, provides small grants to support the needs of clients with a cancer diagnosis.
Community Partnership Award – Temple Sinai
The Community Partnership Award is presented to an organization whose work with Circle of Care has consistently demonstrated collaborative partnership to support individual independence and quality of life in the community. This year’s recipient is Temple Sinai. Circle of Care and Temple Sinai have enjoyed a wonderful working relationship for a number of years. Recently Circle of Care partnered with Temple Sinai on the “Buddy Up” program, a yearly Holocaust intergenerational program. Temple Sinai has also offered their space to use for our Bereavement Support groups, and to prepare special fresh food Meals on Wheels deliveries. Temple Sinai has also work with us on an Annual Shabbat program and Shavuot dinner for older adults. Many of their members also volunteer with our various programs, including Meals on Wheels, Adult Day Program, Hospice and Friendly Visiting.
Kosher Meals on Wheels (Baycrest) Recognition Award – David Goldberg and Elaine Bisgould
In the past four years of volunteer service, David Goldberg has contributed almost 2500 hours of service, delivering meals five days a week to clients in our community. David not only delivers meals, but a smile and a kind word to each client. His compassion and dedication to the Kosher Meals on Wheels program is valued by his clients.
Elaine Bisgould has been one of the Kosher Meals on Wheels’ volunteer captains for almost 6 years. She began volunteering as a co-captain on Thursdays, organizing all routes for volunteers, and a few years ago took on another day as Captain on Tuesdays as well. On many occasions, she comes in the afternoon before her shift to prepare everything for the next morning delivery and helps with other tasks if needed. If volunteers are unavailable, she will deliver meals as well. We are very fortunate to have Elaine as part of our Kosher Meals on Wheels team.
Kosher Meals on Wheels (Sepha) Recognition Award – Sidney Nightingale
Sidney Nightingale’s contribution to the Kosher Meals on Wheels program is simply outstanding. In the past year Sid delivered meals to our clients three times a week. A few extra meals that require delivery never posed a problem for him. He is always ready to deliver for an extra day or two when the need arises. Regardless of the weather condition or area of delivery, Sid will show compassion and tireless effort to deliver meals to clients.
Adult Day Program Recognition Award – Marilyn Halpert
For more than five years, Marilyn Halpert has volunteered at the Adult Day Program. Marilyn is kind, caring, companionate, funny and dedicated. Anything asked of Marilyn is always taken on with a smile! Marilyn helps with bingo, leading morning schmooze, and helping with coffee and tea in the morning to brighten our members’ day, among other valuable contributions. She has build close and meaningful relationship with our members, volunteers and staff. We are all very grateful for all of her hard work. Our ADP staff all affirm that is a true honour to work with such a lovely person as Marilyn.
Friendly Visiting Recognition Award – Jessica Proctor
Jessica Proctor started with Circle of Care as placement student and matched with a Holocaust Survivor client. Shortly after the match was made, the client called Circle of Care and said, “The stars must have aligned and Jessica fell down from them to come to me. I know I am not easy to work with but Jessica is so patient.”
“I appreciate every minute that Jessica is with me. It’s so nice to have someone who understands my urgency as a Holocaust survivor to document my story, and Jessica was very willing to help me with this,” says Jessica’s client.
Jessica visited weekly and helped the client write her memoirs for her family to enjoy. Legacy work is very important to some of our clients and Jessica was able to fulfill this client’s wishes. Since her placement ended a year ago, Jessica continues to visit the client with whom she has developed a special bond.
Mt. Sinai Friendly Visiting Program Recognition Award – Allison Baker
When Allison Baker’s client turned 100 at the beginning of March, she was so pleased when Allison brought her a bouquet of roses to celebrate the important milestone, and appreciated Allison’s thoughtfulness.
Both Allison and her client have connections to Beaverton Ontario and even know some of the same families. Allison’s client says, “I have a good time reminiscing. We share stories, and photos, and we love to talk with each other.” On occasion Allison brings her dog along for the visit, which her client just adores.
Administrative Recognition Award – Barbara Cheng
Barbara Cheng is such a special person to our staff in Volunteer Resources. She comes in on Tuesdays and works away at the mountains of paperwork that have been assigned to her to do. And she does it happily and always with a smile on her face!
Barbara’s tasks are often not easy and definitely time-consuming. She has helped to record monthly volunteer hours into our EasyCare software. Her commitment to volunteering and her untiring efforts are greatly appreciated.
Jewish Hospice Recognition Award – Lana Rottenberg
Lana Rottenberg has been a tremendous asset to our Jewish Hospice program. Not only is she a visiting volunteer but she also co-facilitates our monthly Caring Café for bereaved caregivers and assists with our Pre-holiday bereavement support groups for Holocaust Survivors. If this is not enough Lana was a joined a small team of volunteers who will be calling all caregivers who has recently experienced a loss to invite them to access all of our bereavement services. Lana’s willingness to help and her compassion for those going through a loss is inspirational to those who work with her.
Community Hospice Recognition Award – Brian Wong
Brian Wong is one of our youngest hospice volunteers, but the compassion he demonstrates towards clients is beyond his years. He has been with his current client for over a year and a half. Brian performs tasks that enable the client to remain in his home, such as picking up basic grocery supplies and putting his groceries away for him. His client, who lives alone, appreciates Brian’s consistency and reliability in maintaining his visiting schedule. Without Brian’s support, this client would struggle to remain in his home.
Phone Pal Recognition Award – Ira Fisher
Ira Fisher has been with Circle of Care since 2011. During this time, Ira has been assigned to the same client. Ira regularly calls his client and keeps Circle of Care updated on the client’s well being. His client looks forward to Ira’s phone calls, which have become the highlight of the week.