April 7 to 13, 2019 was National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and to acknowledge the efforts of our vast volunteer pool a special event was hosted on Wednesday April 10. Using the open and welcoming “Atrium Room” space at London Regional Children’s Museum, we hosted a special evening with a focus on wellness for volunteers.
There were approximately 45 volunteers and 12 staff in attendance, who enjoyed a pizza dinner and a variety of treats. Local musician Kristen Tomen greeted our guests with a live acoustic set to foster a tone of warmth and celebration. Our program began at 5:30 p.m., with a performance by the Deshkan Ziibi Indigenous Women’s Drumming Circle, followed by remarks from CEO Dr. Beth Mitchell that acknowledged the efforts of all volunteers across CMHA – currently there are over 300 documented volunteers.
Following remarks, Director of Human Resources, Patricia Verkley, and Volunteer Coordinator, Aleena Needham, presented certificates to the following volunteers who have been recognized for their years of volunteer service with CMHA Middlesex:
|Elliette Ayris, Strathroy Site, 15 years
Heather Bishop, Board Chair, 5 years
Bill Chantler, Past Board Chair, 5 years
John Davis, Strathroy Site, 10 years
Pam Johnston, William SLA, 5 years
Mirjam Kaupp, One to One, 5 years
|Patricia Knowles, Micro Enterprise, 5 years
Paul Krasna, Insights Newsletter Editor, 25 years
Patricia Prance, Micro Enterprise, 7 years
Misa Tanaka, My Sisters’ Place, Kitchen Assistant, 5 years
Tamara Tavares, One to One, 5 years
After the presentation, keynote speakers Susan Rosato, Registered Nurse, Certified Personal Trainer and Occupational Wellness Program Lead, South West LHIN and Zach Best, Strength and Mobility Coach, South West LHIN treated guests to a presentation. The focus of the keynote was on topics related to mental wellness, strategies to employ mindfulness such as breathing and meditation, and the importance of maintaining self-care for busy caregivers.
CMHA Middlesex Board Chair, Heather Bishop, closed the evening by thanking all volunteers for their tremendous efforts and emphasizing the value of what they bring to our organization. As the evening ended, many volunteers commented that they appreciated the event and enjoyed themselves, and found the keynote and overall program to be rejuvenating.
Volunteer Program Highlights:
- Volunteers are engaged at My Sisters’ Place (MSP) in the kitchen, at the Welcome Desk, in Micro Enterprise and most recently, have helped arrange the basement at MSP; organizing the hundreds of donations that have been received and making it easier for women we serve to access items – a very formidable task!
- Volunteers are the backbone of the Micro Enterprise program, making many special events and accomplishments possible by keeping the space organized, motivating and supporting artisans and fostering a safe and healthy workspace.
- Volunteers in Strathroy are engaged in our groups, one to one and specialized Peer Support roles, as well as driving the van, making it possible for many citizens to enjoy our programming.
- Volunteer pool of the 24/7 Support Line is currently 130 individuals, with more volunteers anticipated to be joining the service for trainings later on in May. This very cohesive and dedicated group responds to the Support Line on a 24-7 basis.
- An expanding pool of One to One volunteers who assist with activities of daily living, socialization and moral support to individuals we serve at CMHA; both within community settings as well as our Supportive Living residential sites.
- Peer Support volunteer program continues to thrive, completing successful and meaningful matches for individuals who are transitioning from hospital.
- Volunteers at London Coffee House offer their time, skills and energy to encourage participation in the program and foster a welcoming atmosphere.
Thank you to all our incredible volunteers!