Volunteering: The Ripple Effect


Volunteer Chelsea Ash and resident Clara Milley at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home in St. John’s.

Volunteer Chelsea Ash and resident Clara Milley at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home in St. John’s.

Like a pebble that gets thrown in the water, a volunteer’s gift of time and caring releases a ripple effect. These ripples are created every time Eastern Health volunteers reach out beyond themselves, to engage in kindness and caring for others.

In my role as coordinator with Volunteer Resources, I am constantly aware of the impact these ripples make. As I walk down the halls of our long-term homes and observe volunteers helping with resident activities – assisting at mealtimes or providing the gift of music, I often overhear the sound of chatter and laughter, as if the volunteer and the resident have known each other for ever.

But that’s not usually so!  They meet as strangers. These individuals become connected – a caring volunteer and a resident who has embraced that person in gratitude and friendship.

My position description covers duties from recruitment to recognition and retention, and many other things in between! But, at the end of the work-day, what I reflect on is that silent ripple that affects me as it does the residents, their families and the staff: the gift of the volunteers!

Both professionally and personally, I am repeatedly inspired by all those wonderful people who come from different backgrounds and experiences, who come in all ages (14 to 80 years of age) and who give the gift of volunteering each in their own unique way. I am always humbled by my role to be a part of that ripple effect that aims to enhance the lives of the residents in our care.

Yes, the volunteer’s gift, like the pebble in the water, reaches out to embrace us all.

If you would like information on how to volunteer with long-term care at Eastern Health, please contact me at judy.cook@easternhealth.ca. ■

Judy Cook is a Volunteer Resources coordinator with Eastern Health’s Long-Term Care Program. She is based in St. John’s..

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