Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteers are vital to the success of our programs of March of Dimes Canada. ​Thousands of dedicated volunteers contribute tens of thousands of hours to help March of Dimes Canada every year, and we appreciate and acknowledge volunteers for all the amazing, incredible and hard work they do.  Read some of their stories and see why volunteers are such an essential part of who we are.​

Darlene Johnson Volunteer Spotlight: March 2018

Name: Darlene Johnson 

Volunteer Position: Communication Program Volunteer – ACDP Peterborough Site 

What is your favorite part about volunteering with MODC? 
How the clients are so motivated to improve their own communication and how they support each other through the process. I look forward to volunteering at the Peterborough Aphasia program because they provide a supportive and non-judgmental environment for clients, caregivers and the volunteers. The staff set the tone and they are knowledgeable, skilled and demonstrate respect for each individual that they encounter.

What are 3 adjectives you would use to describe yourself?
Caring, Friendly, Respectful

What is your favorite hobby? 

What is your favorite TV show? 
Call the Midwife (because of a Nursing background) 

How long have you been an MODC volunteer? 
1.5 Years 

We asked Elisha and Sara why they nominated this volunteer. 
“Darlene’s positive nature, energy, and welcoming attitude deserve recognition! On top of her friendly personality, she displays kindness and concern for the well-being of our clients, supporting their strengths and encouraging them to develop new skills. As staff (and I’m sure clients feel the same) we’re very fortunate to have Darlene as part of our team.” Sara Piotrowska (Staff Partner)

Her patience and willingness to learn and use supportive communication strategies ensures that clients’ messages are expressed, all clients are engaged, and conversation is mutually beneficial. – Sara
​“The first thing that strikes me about Darlene is her caring and empathetic attitude in the program. She is genuinely interested in the clients and their well-being! She actively inquires about their lives and is always supportive of their interests. She is also very patient, allowing clients to respond in their own time and always encourages them to use the strategies to support their communication. It’s very evident how much the clients appreciate Darlene’s time and effort!”

​​​Elisha Nesci (Staff Partner) ​

​If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit MODC's Current Volunteer Opportunities page.

Lara Kaufman
Volunteer Spotlight: February 2018 

Name: Lara Kaufman 

Volunteer Position: Peers Fostering Hope Hospital Visitor 

What is their favorite part about volunteering with MODC? 
Inspiring the patients they see and giving them hope. 

What are 3 adjectives that they use to describe themselves? 
Outgoing, Persevering, Insightful. 

What is their favorite hobby? 
She loves to read. 

What is their favorite TV show? 

Why are you nominating this volunteer?​
Stroke recovery is like climbing a mountain. It takes hard work, perseverance and patience. But the view from the top is spectacular. – Lara

Lara’s positive attitude and awareness of the challenges that someone goes through after experiencing a life changing event, enables her to really touch the hearts of the patients she visits at Toronto Rehab as part of Peers Fostering Hope (PFH). The individual Lara supports in the community as part of the Community Visiting pilot for PFH has taken steps to get out into the community more than she would have without Lara’s assistance.
According to Paul Asselin, the Social Worker she reports to when she volunteers at Toronto Rehab, “Lara has made some terrific contributions and offered a lot of support to our patients over the years. I remember not long after she started here, one patient referred to her as an angel. She has received similar compliments such as: ‘Reassuring, good to hear it from someone who’s been there,’ ‘She gave me confidence.’ etc.

What strikes me about Lara in particular is that she finds the strength to come in, even when there are so many other things going on in her life. Through all of these life events, some good and some challenging, she manages to stay focused and present when she is visiting.”

Lara exemplifies what it means to be a PFH volunteer based on the feedback she receives from patients at the hospital. I would also support what Paul Asselin has said above. She is extremely dedicated even when she has a lot of other challenges going on in her life. She also is eager to get involved in new opportunities such as when she decided to be a part of the Community Visiting pilot. Outside of MODC she is involved in many other community projects. As a UHN Patient Partner, she has served on several committees, providing the patient perspective on various initiatives. She also co-founded with stroke survivor, Dr. Howard Rocket, Rocket Ride 4 Rehab in 2015. This static cycling event raises money for the Rocket Family Upper Extremity Clinic at Toronto Rehab. Lara is very deserving of recognition. She is also respected among her peers.

– Rebecca Phinnemore, PFH Coordinator

How long have they been an MODC volunteer?
Since 2014

​If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit MODC's Current Volunteer Opportunities page.

Joan Winter 
Volunteer Spotlight: January 2018

Name: Joan Winter

Volunteer Position: Chairperson and Peers Fostering Hope Volunteer 

How long have you been a MODC volunteer?
7 years 

What is your favorite part about volunteering with MODC? 
Being able to express that there is always hope and that people need to be determined towards their recovery, which will be rewarded.

What are 3 adjectives use would use to describe yourself? 
Determined, dedicated and challenged. 

What is your favorite hobby? 
Grandchildren is number 1, Reading, and Toast Masters. 

What is your favorite TV show?
The Young and the Restless and Big Bang Theory 

Erica M. nominated Joan for a volunteer spotlight. Here is why she nominated her:
We have the pleasure of working with wonderful people who donate their time to this organization every day. I wanted to highlight Joan Winter as she is determined to beat the odds. She is her own advocate and works hard towards her recovery every single day. She doesn’t let disability become a barrier. She advocates for Tai-Chi and Toast Masters; two community programs that were instrumental in her recovery. These programs have given her both focus and balance. She doesn’t let stroke define her. She would say “that being the Chairperson for the Oshawa Stroke Support Group has made her stronger and has given her direction” she would also say that “if you think you can or can’t, you are right”.

In addition to being the Chairperson for the Oshawa Stroke Support group she is an active Peers Fostering Hope Volunteer, spending her free time giving hope to people who have newly experienced a stroke. Lastly, she also volunteers with the Living with Stroke program running it twice a year. She is truly remarkable and unstoppable! We want to thank Joan Winter for her time and positive energy towards helping other stroke survivors and caregivers realize that there is life after stroke.

​If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit MODC's Current Volunteer Opportunities page.​

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