Young Burnbrae volunteer says experience has been rewarding

Volunteer Zack Smith, seen standing at the back, enjoys the pleasant weather with Burnbrae Gardens residents on April 24.

Zack Smith, who began volunteering at 16, says he’s getting from residents as much as he gives

Zack Smith has been coming into Burnbrae Gardens to volunteer with residents at the Campbellford long-term care home since he was about 16.

Now 19, Zack, the son of Burnbrae Gardens’ director of care Lesley Maguire, is still regularly volunteering with residents.

“It started when my mother brought me in to show me where she worked, because she was ecstatic and wanted to show me her workplace,” Zack tells The OMNIway.

“Then I met some of the residents and fell in love with the atmosphere, and I asked when I could come in next and talk with some of the residents. I like the atmosphere, and it’s a nice way to spend my days off when I’m not working.”

Some of the ways Zack volunteers with residents include gardening, helping with the drink cart during mealtimes and having one-to-one time with residents.

Zack notes he and a couple of the home’s male residents share a lot of common interests, such as animals and building dioramas.

“(One of the residents) always has a new story to tell me – even if it’s a story from the past, it’s always a new story to tell me when I come in,” Zack says.

Zack says he also spends time with residents who don’t go on outings much or who don’t have families.

“It’s nice just to come in once a week and talk to them, and it’s nice for them to have a visitor they might not otherwise have,” he says.

April Faux, the home’s administrator and life enrichment co-ordinator, says Zack provides a valuable service to Burnbrae Gardens’ residents. She notes that he  works well with others and is a favourite volunteer among residents.

“Right now, the residents are all sitting outside and he’s with them, wearing a floral hat,” April chuckles. “He’s quite a character, he really strives at what he does, and he is willing to do anything to help residents.”

April 23-29 is National Volunteer Week 2017. The week is marked by events nationwide that celebrate volunteers and all they do to enrich the lives of others. This year marks the 76th National Volunteer Week.

Anyone interested in volunteering at an OMNI Health Care long-term care home can call 1-705-748-6631 for more information.

More information on National Volunteer Week can be found by visiting the campaign’s website.

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