Meaningful connections: Volunteering at Parkland
April 18-24, 2021 is National Volunteer Week. At Parkland we are fortunate to have many amazing volunteers spanning across all our communities. Reflecting on the past year, volunteering is one of the many things that has changed due to COVID-19, but it remains more important than ever.
Prior to the pandemic, Parkland at the Gardens in Downtown Halifax had upwards of 20 volunteers, many being students attending nearby universities. Ethan Ring, a medical student at Dalhousie University has been volunteering at the community since 2018.
“I’ve had an interest in volunteering with senior living ever since I started going to school at Dalhousie and attended a volunteer expose,” says Ethan. “Starting in second year, I began broadening my field of experience and reached out to Parkland directly and they gladly took me in.”
Angela MacAdam, Wellness Coach at Parkland at the Gardens says before the pandemic, volunteers would often help with activities on-site and others would visit with residents one-on-one. Because of the pandemic, those visits have turned into phone calls. “It’s just like having a buddy, or a secondary grandparent,” says Angela. “And the residents love having someone to chat with.”
When Ethan could go on-site to volunteer, he had three residents he visited with on a regular basis, assisted with special events and even occasionally bartended, which has since turned into part-time employment. “Ethan is such a good listener, he gets along with everyone – so much so, that residents wanted us to hire him because they wanted to see him more,” says Angela. “He really makes the time for us and we appreciate it so much. We all love to see him.”
Ethan says he enjoys seeing the residents just as much as they enjoy seeing him and encourages anyone thinking of volunteering at Parkland to do it. “Volunteering is one of the small things in life that leads to a big impact on the community. Everyone is welcome to volunteer at Parkland,” says Ethan. “It’s a wonderful community filled with people from all walks of life and an amazing staff that will help you in any way they can. It’s truly a life changing experience!”
While many Parkland locations, including Parkland at the Gardens are not open to in-person volunteers just yet, Angela says everyone is hoping they’ll be back soon. “Volunteers are so important,” says Angela. “Having someone be able to make a connection with residents – that’s irreplaceable and it makes such a difference in their lives.”
If you’re interested in learning more about volunteering at a Parkland, please email email@example.com.