Countless volunteers offer their time and talents to the residents and team members of Schlegel Villages, and without them the neighbourhoods would be sorely lacking in spirit. In Canada, April 15-21 marks National Volunteer Week as an occasion to make special note of just how invaluable the service of this army of kind people is in every setting. Throughout the week, each village has taken time to show its gratitude through gestures large and small.
Like the residents and team members of Schlegel Villages, the volunteers come from all walks of life representing the beautiful cross-section of cultures Canada is known for. They are young and they are old; some have particular skills they bring to their village and others simply want to “give back,” offering themselves in whatever capacity they are required. Almost all of them will tell you they get much more out of the volunteer experience than they put into it; the humble spirit of the volunteer, after all, is practically universal.
They are people like Doug Quick, who’s been a regular fixture in the Village of Glendale Crossing for the last seven years, offering somewhere in the neighbourhood of 3,000 hours to residents and team members there. He’s been a hard worker all his life in many fields, and when he finally left the work force he decided to look into volunteering at the new village around the corner from where he lives in London.
“I’ve had a good life”, he says, recalling how he watched Glendale Crossing grow from the ground during construction from his nearby apartment. “I’d really like to do something and give back,” he told his wife at the time, and he never looked back.
“Almost from the time I walked in I realized this was something that I wanted to do. I enjoy the staff and more than that I just love interacting with the residents.”
He’s there three mornings a week, sometimes supporting recreation team members in their programming, sometimes helping bring residents to and from activities, often just sitting with residents, sharing time and space and stories from diverse ranges of life experience. Many residents have become friends, and Doug cherishes the time he spends with them.
“He knows the residents so well,” says volunteer coordinator Amanda Switzer, “so he can pick and choose where he’s needed most. He’s one of those volunteers who, truly, wherever he’s needed he’ll jump in and do it.”
Once year at Christmas, for example, the team was quite short-staffed, but Doug was there, serving breakfast as he often did and cleaning the dining room afterwards, making time for team members to focus on the residents. He did the same through lunch that day, spending hours to support the team he so respects and the residents he’d come to love, simply because he could see the extra pair of hands were needed.
“It’s so heart-warming to see him interacting with the residents,” Amanda says. “He doesn’t have to – that’s just him being selfless because he cares. We want that for our team members and our volunteers and the fact that he does it so naturally . . . it can’t get any better than that.”
And Doug is just one of countless people whose compassion and kindness brightens the villages every day. This week and always, their spirit of generosity are honoured.