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National Volunteer week
Volunteers support staff, contribute to quality experiences for patients
Posted on 04/15/2024

Volunteer weekNational Volunteer Week takes place April 14-20, making this the perfect time for Waypoint Centre for Mental Health Care to recognize the energy and commitment of volunteers to patients and staff at the hospital.

“I am so privileged and fortunate to be working with such wonderful volunteers,” said Diane Desroches, Talent and Volunteer Services Co-ordinator. “I go home each and every day feeling so good and fulfilled about the work our volunteers do.”

As one of four standalone specialty mental health and addictions hospitals in Ontario, Waypoint serves some of the province’s most complex and disadvantaged populations. National Volunteer Week is a chance to pause and express gratitude toward the people who contribute to providing safe, compassionate and patient-centred care.

“Our volunteers create positive impacts at Waypoint and in our community,” said Desroches, adding volunteers complement the work of staff and provide additional support to run programs with patients.

Waypoint currently has 70 volunteers and is building on that since the pandemic. Volunteers typically spend one to three hours a week in such areas as the gift shop, recreation activities, pet therapy, music programs and more. In total, volunteers contribute up to 3,500 hours per year to the hospital.

Humza Shahid, 23, is one of those volunteers. Since November, he has spent one day each week with patients in the recreational department. A typical day may involve spending time in the computer lab or supervising gym activities, as well as swimming, sports, hiking or other recreational pursuits.

“Just to be distracted from (your troubles) is very important in mental health,” he said. “Helping patients to do that is what gives me a sense of fulfilment while working at Waypoint. It makes me want to keep doing this.”

Desroches noted volunteers have many different life experiences, but they all have at least one thing in common: their willingness to give their time to help others.

“They provide skills, talents, support, compassion, encouragement, intellect and humour,” she said, “and they give our patients hope, strength and courage.”

On top of the roles listed above, the many volunteer opportunities at Waypoint also include fundraising/events, research volunteer, income tax assistance, spiritual care/social visitor and more. The hospital’s board members are also volunteers. Anyone who would like to help make a difference can email [email protected] to learn about volunteer positions at Waypoint.