‘We’re both giving to each other in different ways’

Willows Estate volunteer Rose Vanderhoff (right) shares a moment with resident Sylvia Eriksson.

Friendship circle rewarding for Willows Estate volunteer, residents

A friendship circle is a popular gathering all-round for residents and the volunteer who co-ordinates the activity at Willows Estate.

For the past eight years, a small group of residents has met twice a week with volunteer Rose Vanderhoff for companionship and conversation.

Rose’s friendship circle, which runs a few hours each time, occurs with a small group of residents and it’s a well-loved pastime, says Teddy Mazzuca, life enrichment co-ordinator (LEC) at Willows Estate.

Meanwhile, it’s a rewarding experience for Rose as well.

“I just feel that I’m doing for others and I get satisfaction,” Rose tells The OMNIway. “I learn so much from (the residents). They’re fascinating and they’re interesting.”

Rose’s desire to volunteer began with friendly visiting and evolved into the friendship circle over the eight-year period.

When asked what she enjoys about residents’ reactions, Rose says, “they’re so happy. They comment all of the time that they enjoy (the friendship circle) and they’re thankful.

“We’re both giving to each other in different ways.”

Rose is one of Willows Estate’s cherished volunteers. The long-term care home recognized recently the women and men who donate their time to the home.

In honour of National Volunteer Week, which ran April 7-13, Willows Estate hosted a roast beef supper. The dinner brought together a small team of volunteers and residents who dined on roast beef, mashed potatoes and the rest of the trimmings of the traditional Sunday meal.

Volunteers particularly enjoyed breaking bread with the residents, Teddy notes. “It was very small and intimate,” the LEC says.

Willows Estate was able to offer this special dining experience because just a smaller portion of its volunteer team was able to attend.

Teddy says the home is fortunate to have long-term volunteers so recognizing them is important.

The theme for this year’s national week was “The Volunteer Factor – Lifting Communities.” The Volunteer Factor celebrates and recognizes the exponential impact of volunteers and how they lift the communities in which they serve.

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