Saturday, May 4, 2013


I have been volunteering .... A LOT! I have always been a volunteer with a variety of organizations but this was something else!

I have continued to work in the direction of getting a job someday and part of the process has involved investigating a number of different fields. I have been leaning very strongly in the direction of some kind of recreation  related job and it was recommended that I get some real life work experience through volunteering. Partly this was to prove that I really do like that kind of work, that I really can do the job and most difficult was to prove that I have the stamina to work a half day job. I was also trying to prove to myself, and my employment support team that I would be able to go to college full time next year for a certificate program.

The Hospital's Thank-you pin for Volunteer Appreciation Week

We had a really hard time finding somewhere that would let me work the number of required hours per week. To best qualify for financial assistance they wanted me to work for about 15 hours each week for a period of at least 4 weeks. Most places would have been happy to give me about 3 hours but not that many!  Eventually the decision was made that I could work at two different places and we would add up the hours.

My Employment Development Specialist  and I met with the director of the Stroke Recovery Association of Manitoba where I have been an active member over the past several years. We agreed  I would spend time volunteering in general ways and also to chair our upcoming Wheel and Walk fundraiser.

Next we met with the Volunteer Coordinator of the hospital where I received most of my therapy.
After an interview process I began volunteering in the nursing home that is part of the hospital complex. I have been helping to transport residents to programs and assisting the recreation directors with a variety of events ranging from Spiritual Care activities in the chapel to crafts, music therapy sessions, movie night and even baking cookies with some lovely seniors.

All of this ... while desperately trying to balance my normal family, and my normal volunteer commitments. The rest of the time I wanted (well maybe needed) to be a couch potato.

I did it. The volunteering was very worthwhile, very encouraging, but also challenging and exhausting. I found that a lot of the things I worried about were not issues at all, but helping with adapted curling proved to be a rather humbling experience that pointed out my limitations. [note to self-- NO more curling- adapted or otherwise]

My required time as a volunteer with these organizations is now up. I had an appointment a few days ago with the hospital volunteer coordinator and we discussed my continuance as a volunteer at the hospital.  I left with dates that I will be volunteering for the rest of May. Stroke Recovery's annual Wheel and Walk fundraiser takes place in June so I still have a lot of lot of volunteer work ahead of me.


Rebecca Dutton said...

The movies I make in my head rarely pinpoint the actual roadblocks I encounter after my stroke. Hands-on experience often gives me a clue that propels me towards a solution. I volunteer a lot too. It feels good to be useful and appreciated. What a great post.

Humpty Dumpty said...

Your volunteering has given you so many benefits. It's showed you a few of your limitations, but more importantly, it's shown you all the things you CAN do. :)

Barb Polan said...

Wow! Good for you!

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