The music was loud, the food was fantastic and team members danced in the grass as The Village of Sandalwood Park celebrated its 20th Anniversary on a sunny August afternoon. In the midst of one of Canada’s most diverse communities, the Brampton Village is a reflection of a true cultural mosaic. You’re as likely to find a resident from England reminiscing alongside a neighbour from Iran and a team member who came to Canada from India as you are to find another who grew up in the countryside outside the city before it exploded in population growth.
The community this diversity creates is the beauty of Sandalwood Park, and has been its strength through the past two decades.
“I would sum up Sandalwood Park in two words,” said Schlegel Villages President and CEO Jamie Schlegel as he addressed the gathering: “community and care. All of you contribute to excellent care and also, equally importantly, you’re contributing to Village life and contributing to community, which allows residents and all of us as team members to thrive as individuals.”
Karen Trotter opened the Village as a personal support worker the day it opened, counting herself among a small but mighty group that was recognized for 20 years of service. Many more have 15 and others still marked 10 and five years.
The sense of community is what Karen points to when asked what makes her proud to be part of Village life. “We all get along as a team,” Karen says in her Newfoundland accent. “You have to have a special heart to work where we are, and we all have a lot of fun. Everybody has their ups and downs, but you come to work and start a fresh day.”
Dr. Earle served Sandalwood Park for 12 years as the Village’s medical director, and the eyes of team members lit up when he walked towards the tent. His example of compassionate, hands-on care and his ability to connect with residents mirrored the Schlegel Villages philosophy.
“We were engaged in the common goal and I very much tried to work towards that with the team,” he says. “The work that we do every day, even the little things, will make a difference; that extra moment or the hand on the shoulder – all of these subtleties collectively add up to caring.
It comes naturally for this team; whether it’s the young recreation team member who has been with the Village for eight months or the veteran with the 20-years of care under her belt, the caregiver’s heart beats strong at Sandalwood Park.
“It’s a matter of great pride to see how our Village has grown over the years and how we continue to embrace the Schlegel values and achieve more each and every day,” General Manager Zoie Mohammed told her gathered team in her address.
“It’s an absolute honour to work with all of you.”