A number of Cypress Health Region volunteers had an opportunity to have some kindness directed their way during the Region’s 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Tea in Swift Current.
Wednesday’s volunteer recognition event was one of a series of appreciation opportunities the Cypress Health Region is hosting as part of National Volunteer Week during April 23 to 29.
The tea was an opportunity to recognize the talents, knowledge and caring which volunteers share in a variety of ways to make a difference in the lives of residents, clients and patients throughout the Health Region.
“What you do matters to many, and what you do has a major impact on the quality of care our staff have the ability to offer,” noted Bryce Martin, Vice President Primary Health Care for the Cypress Health Region.
The afternoon celebration of volunteers saluted the wide ranging impacts that are provided throughout Swift Current and across the Southwest.
Brianna Fifield, Volunteer Services Coordinator for the Cypress Health Region, said the network of volunteers across the Southwest certainly help improve the quality of life of others.
“I have had the opportunity to see the impact volunteers make in so many different ways since I’ve started working as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Region. When I see a volunteer put a smile on someone’s face, it makes my job feel like I’m just a small part of making a difference in peoples lives, along side of all the volunteers throughout the Region,” Fifield said.
The Meals on Wheels program is one of the higher profile, and impacting volunteer opportunities. In Swift Current during the month of March, there were approximately 700 Meals on Wheels served. Health Region wide, there were over 23,000 meals delivered to 224 Home Care clients through the Southwest in 2016.
Jennifer Orsak, one of the two Recreation Coordinators at The Meadows, gave a special salute to the many individuals who share their gift of music for their residents.
Previously sharing their talents at the three former long term care facility across Swift Current, these musicians are now performing at the Meadows, and some are continuing a long-term commitment. Orsak saluted: C Company Band, Archie & The Boys (28 years), Notes of Praise (32 years), Arnold and Company, T&T Band, Henry Banman and Friends (five years), Barbara Mirau (16 years), Harvey and Lenore (19 years), Cadillac Crew (Saturday country music jam sessions). She also gave a nod to music volunteer newcomers Country Strings, Jerry Olsen, Out of Bounds, Yolland Gorill, Conrad Sondberg, plus the Red Hat Ladies. Additional thanks was extended to Ruby and her friends for their assistance during weekly spiritual time.
This has been a important continuation of volunteering since The Meadows opened their doors on June 5, 2016.
“We are grateful to all the musicians who made the move with us. The majority of these guys and girls visited one, two or three of our former facilities every month,” she said.
“You have made such an important and amazing impact. Music lives in our hearts and just makes us feel good,” she said, noting that the residents definitely look forward to music days.
She also took time to recognize a number of long time volunteers who did not chose to continue at The Meadows, many after a long time connection.
“We want to thank you and let you know you were, and are, appreciated.”
Elayne Olson shared a volunteers perspective with the audience, reminding those attending that volunteers receive an immeasurable return on their investment of time.
“Why do I volunteer? It makes me happy. And I think that’s why all of you volunteer to,” Olson said.
After 37 years as a teacher, she began a new challenge in volunteering in the Health Region, and she is a member of Caring Clowns. The group began making people smile at the hospital, and they have recently added The Meadows as a weekly stop.
Olson, who also goes by the clown name Dr. Fix You Up, admitted she was tentative when she first started clowning for patients.
“I remember the first time I went to the hospital…My heart was just thumping. I don’t want to be here. I don’t like hospitals.”
“Gradually I came to love it. To have the opportunity to meet people when they’re sick and to cheer them up.”
She said she has experienced some heart warming moments during her volunteering, and she has learned some important life lessons during her visits.
“Volunteering gives us a positive attitude,” she said. “Volunteering makes us happy. It gives us opportunities to meet new people, and to reconnect with people we’ve known all our lives.”
“I have found since I have been willing to get out of my comfort zone, and to do something I’ve never done before, I have felt such joy because giving to other people you get way more back.”