Two young volunteers sharing meaningful activity with residents
When recreation director and volunteer co-ordinator Heather Luth considers the two young ladies who volunteer regularly at the Village of Wentworth Heights with a small group of women residents who form a tight knitting circle, many positive thoughts come to mind.
There’s the fact that the girls probably know more about the life history of these women than she does; there’s the steady sound of laughter and chatter that rings out when the knitting needles are moving; there’s the beauty of seeing decades of age disappear between friends young and old; there’s the pride in knowing one of the
volunteers, her daughter, Janessa, is as kind and generous as any mother could hope for in a daughter.
Janessa says she’s been coming to the village on and off her whole life, but she
The Nifty Knitters gather weekly
officially began volunteering a year ago. She began the Nifty Knitter group in February, as a way for people who love to knit to get back involved through loom knitting, which is easier for people with arthritis and joint pain.
Chantel Beldman — who was so enthralled after her first session that she went home that night and asked her father to hand-make extra knitting hooks — began helping not long after.
It’s quite something to hear 15-year-old Janessa talk about teaching elders a new skill, but she insists the visiting and storytelling are the most important aspects of the sessions – the knitting is just a means of getting a regular group together.
“Having something like this is a great way to start meeting with them, and then you build the relationships as you talk and hang out together,” Janessa says.
Some of the most important lessons she’s learned through her time with the group centre on her friends’ life experiences.
“They talk a lot about the kind of things that are important as you go on in life and we’ll talk about family and how close that is with us,” Janessa says.
For her part, Heather says these two volunteers and the many others who give their time to the villages are a key part of the changing culture of aging.
“Volunteers are absolutely vital to assisting us in our journey.” Heather says.
“We can utilize not only their time and commitment, but also their skills and creativity in providing opportunities for our residents to succeed and be engaged in life at the village.”
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