Volunteer Spotlight: Rodrigo Silva

Volunteer Spotlight: October 2018

 

Volunteers are the bread and butter for March of Dimes Canada. As we near the end of the year, we’re excited to be sharing the last three volunteer spotlights to give thanks and recognition to the hard work, commitment and dedication they bring to our organization. Thank you!

Meet Rodrigo, our volunteer spotlight for October!

Volunteer Spotlight: Rodrigo Silva

October Volunteer Spotlight

Name: Rodrigo Silva

Nominated by: Jordan Merron

Volunteer Position: Next Steps Walker

What is your favorite part about volunteering with MODC?

Meeting and walking with new people.

What’s your favorite season in Canada and why?

Winter, it’s different from where I grew up. I like the snow and change in the season.

What’s a hidden talent that you have that the people at MODC may not know about?

I play bass guitar.

Bass Guitar

What is your favorite place that you have traveled?

Yukon, I liked going dog-sledding.

If you could have any meal in the world, what would you choose?

Rice, beans and fries because it’s something my mom made for me growing up. She made it with so much love. It reminds me of home.

We asked Jordan why she nominated this volunteer?

He is energetic and loves to help the walkers!

How long have they been an MODC volunteer?

2 months

Volunteer Spotlight: Rodrigo Silva. Hidden Talent people may not know: I play bass guitar!

If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit this landing page from the website: http://bit.ly/MODCVol

Volunteer Spotlight: September 2018

There’s not enough words to describe how much we appreciate the commitment, time, and hard work that volunteers give. However, we’re happy to feature our incredible volunteers through these spotlights and share them with you. As always, volunteers will always be an important part of the service we give here at March of Dimes Canada.

Come meet Talar, our volunteer spotlight for September!

September Volunteer Spotlight

Name: Talar Kanzoghian

Nominated By: Sara Piotrowska

Position Description: Communication Program Volunteer / Speech Language Pathologist (SLP) Placement Student (Aphasia and Communication Disabilities Program)

Age: 25

How long have you been an MODC Volunteer? Just over 8 months

What is your favourite part about volunteering with MODC?  I love working and collaborating with the MODC team to help create a positive, supportive, and inclusive environment for all of our clients.

It’s so humbling to be a part of a team that strives to empower individuals with aphasia and other communication disabilities.

What’s your favourite season in Canada and why? What I really love about Canada is that it allows you to enjoy each and every season. Not all countries have four unique seasons…I think every season in Canada is beautiful in its own way. If I had to pick one, I would probably say autumn because of the exuberant colourful transformation of the leaves. I really do not enjoy the anticipation of the cold winters though!

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What’s a hidden talent that you have that the people at MODC may not know about? 

Growing up, I did rhythmic gymnastics. At one point, I trained about 15 hours a week and was so passionate about it. The hard training strengthened my self-discipline and will power, and I was able to transfer those skills I learned to other aspects of my life.

If you could have any meal in the world, what would you choose? I’m a pretty healthy eater. I like to include vegetables in all my meals paired with meat, fish, or pasta.

Varadero, Cuba

A favorite place you have traveled to? Probably Varadero, Cuba because of their stunning beaches! I love their white soft sand and clear aqua blue waters. I also happen to love swimming as a sport so what better place to swim than in clear aqua blue waters.

Sara Piotrowska nominated Talar. We aksed why she nominated her as a Volunteer Spotlight for this month:

“Talar’s kindness, cheerful attitude, and keen interest in supporting clients with communication disabilities was evident from the beginning of her placement. She quickly developed strong, professional relationships with staff, volunteers, and clients. It was a pleasure to have Talar as part of our team, to watch her develop her clinical skills, and to experience the positive contributions she made to our clients and the program. She is obviously passionate about the career she’s chosen and will make a wonderful and caring SLP.”

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If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit this landing page from the website: http://bit.ly/MODCVol

After Stroke: Christopher’s Experience

"I am very thankful for those that support people like me, and our families, who are living with a stroke."

“I am very thankful for those that support people like me, and our families, who are living with a stroke,” says Christopher Munn.

Christopher Munn was on his Tuesday evening 10K run when he began to experience having a stroke. He suddenly saw flashes in his left eye and had a sharp headache. But when he went to the hospital, they told him it was probably a migraine. He’d never had a migraine before. Two days later, during an office meeting, he couldn’t move his right side.

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“Others noticed. I couldn’t talk. I tried but couldn’t get anyone to understand,” he remembers.

Chris was nothing if not active and healthy before his stroke. He regularly ran with the Owen Sound Running Club, spent time canoeing or skiing outdoors, attended book club meetings and renovated parts of his home.

But the stroke changed all that, greatly impairing his mobility, speech and lifestyle.

“The first night in the hospital after my stroke, I needed to go to the washroom,” he explains. “I wasn’t used to my leg and arm not working. I tried to get up and slid to the floor.”

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Christopher with a fish during a fishing activity at Aphasia Camp

March of Dimes Canada has helped him get back on his feet, offering support programs and subsidizing what his benefits do not cover.

It took seven weeks of rehab to be able to walk with a cane, and he needs ongoing physio three times a week to keep him mobile. He also joined the MODC Aphasia & Communications Disabilities Program (ACDP) for weekly speech therapy, and attends the After Stroke Support Group once a month to help integrate him back into a normal life.

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Chris and his wife during an adaptable bike ride at aphasia camp in St. George, 2016.

“[March of Dimes Canada] staff and volunteers are wonderful – so encouraging and supportive,” he says.

Today, Chris is adapting to a new life. “I miss jogging and hiking. I go for walks,” he explains. “I am trying to adjust to doing things differently.” It takes a great deal of effort, but he’s able to complete small tasks around the house, have conversations, and read books. He’s also taken up new hobbies, including art and dance, and is optimistic that with continued support, he’ll one day be able to bike again.

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Chris titles this “The Healing Power of Nature”

In Canada, over 400,000 people like Christopher have survived a stroke. We are helping families like Christopher’s by offering support, rehabilitation services, education and caregiver support through our nationwide After Stroke program. Visit the After Stroke website at afterstroke.marchofdimes.ca for more information and resources.

Volunteer Spotlight: Liam Tangney. Favourite season in Canada: Summer!

Volunteer Spotlight: August 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Liam Tangney. Favourite season in Canada: Summer!

As we dive into the second part of 2018, we’re continuing to recognize and showcase our volunteers in these spotlights to show that volunteers are just like you! Volunteers will always be an important part of the service we give here at March of Dimes Canada. Thank you to all of our volunteers for your hard work, dedication and enthusiasm.

Meet Liam, our spotlight for August.

August Volunteer Spotlight

Name: Liam Tangney

Nominated By: Jordan Meron

Position Description: Fundraising Assistant

Age: 25

How long have you been an MODC Volunteer? 1 year

What is your favourite part about volunteering with MODC? 

The people that I volunteer with, and the fact that I get to give back to MODC for all the help they gave me in getting my job at Cineplex.

What’s your favourite season in Canada and why? Summer! I love the warm weather, and being able to be outside often.

What’s a hidden talent that you have that the people at MODC may not know about? I’m very good at analyzing sports games!

If you could have any meal in the world, what would you choose? I would choose chicken fingers and fries!

A favorite place you have traveled to? Buffalo, NY

Jordan Meron talks about why she nominated him as Volunteer Spotlight for this month:

“Liam has done great work for our fundraising team! He has a great personality. He treats everyone with respect and kindness, no matter what the situation is. Liam manages “thank you” calls amazingly, even when there are times it can be quite stressful. The commitment he has to his role is something that has not gone unnoticed! He works very hard every time that he comes in, and does a fantastic job with the tasks he is given. We really appreciate everything that he has done for us; we are so lucky to have volunteers like Liam!”

Volunteer Spotlight: Liam Tangney. Favourite season in Canada: Summer!

 

If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit this landing page from the website: http://bit.ly/MODCVol

Volunteer Spotlight: Alex Evans

Volunteer Spotlight: July 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Alex EvansWe’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again, Volunteers are important to the success of the service we give here at March of Dimes Canada. We appreciate and acknowledge volunteers for all the amazing, incredible and hard work they do. Each month this year, we’ve been getting to know some of the things our volunteers like outside of volunteering.

Meet Alex! She’s our spotlight for July.

July Volunteer Spotlight

Name: Alex Evans

Nominated By: Maryam Iqbal

Position Description: Supportive Communication Facilitator

Age: 24 years old

How long have you been an MODC Volunteer? Almost 3 years

What is your favourite part about volunteering with MODC? 

It is so fulfilling to be able to see the difference you can make in someone’s life just by being present. My favourite part is watching individuals grow more confident in themselves. I love helping out with the Aphasia and Communication Peer Support Group because it brightens any bad day, and I know it’s the highlight for their day as well.

A book you would recommend?

I am currently reading the Alice Network and I would recommend it to anyone who likes strong female characters, mystery, and historical fiction.

What is your go-to dessert? Dark chocolate!

If you had a superpower, what would it be? I would like to be able to bend time – there are not enough hours in the day.

What is your favourite movie?  If I had to pick one of my all-time favourites, Clue (1985).

Maryam Iqbal nominated Alex. Erica has added why they chose to nominate this volunteer.

Alex, is truly committed to everything that she does. She really flourished and gained confidence throughout the time that she spent volunteering for the Aphasia Friendly Peer Support Group.”

She is very open to learning news things and is eager to take on new challenges.

Alex, is truly committed to everything that she does. She really flourished and gained confidence throughout the time that she spent volunteering for the Aphasia Friendly Peer Support Group.”

Volunteer Spotlight: Alex Evans. Go-to Dessert: Dark Chocolate!

"Adele has become very social and enjoys making friends."

Adele’s “Yes, I can do it!” attitude!

"Adele has become very social and enjoys making friends."

Words by Adele’s mother, Minna

My heart was filled with love—and worries! Realizing that my three-month-old daughter Adele was having difficulty holding her head up and barely making use of her right hand was truly frightening.

Today, thanks to March of Dimes Canada’s Conductive Education® Program, at age five, Adele is enjoying her first year in a regular Junior Kindergarten class in a public school. Working hard in this program has allowed Adele to develop the ability to navigate the playground safely, master uneven surfaces, run and jump. She has become strong and has even conquered going up and down the stairs. This is a tremendous milestone for a child with challenges like Adele’s.

My daughter was born and diagnosed in London, UK. The medical findings were complex, but the primary challenge Adele faces is called hemiparesis syndrome. As a baby she needed lots of support to learn to use her right hand and how to crawl. From her first step to walking independently, it took a full year. She works on balance issues to this day. What comes easily for most children takes a great deal of time and concentrated effort for Adele.

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Adele and mother, Minna

When our family was preparing to move to Canada I was concerned about finding proper resources for Adele. We asked the organization we were working with in the UK for guidance and were overjoyed to find out that March of Dimes Canada was there for us!

Adele has been thriving in the Conductive Education® Program. The comprehensive curriculum seems almost tailor made for each participant. My heart explodes with joy as Adele gains more and more independence through her lessons including self-care skills like taking off and putting on her own clothes.  Her academic achievements now include learning the alphabet, recognizing short syllables and words and even spelling her own name.

March of Dimes Canada is helping her gain confidence and bloom in so many ways.  Adele has become very social and enjoys making friends because learning is done in a safe and nurturing environment among her peers and friends. For Adele, the program does not feel like therapy or arduous work because the wonderful teachers make it so enjoyable for her. The conductors do such a wonderful job of working with all the children to ensure they reach their full potential.

Adele has become fearless in her “Yes, I can do it!” attitude.

Thank you for letting me share my story with you about Adele and if you have the opportunity, please support March of Dimes Canada.

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If you’d like to help other children like Adele receive the support and resources they need to reach their full potential, please visit: www.marchofdimes.ca/DoubleMyGift

Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Chung

Volunteer Spotlight: June 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Chung

Volunteers are vital to the success of our programs of March of Dimes Canada. We appreciate and acknowledge volunteers for all the amazing, incredible and hard work they do. Every month this year, we’ve been getting to know some of them and what they like outside of volunteering.

Meet Catherine Chung, our spotlight for June!

June Volunteer Spotlight

Name: Catherine Chung

Nominated by: Tim McCrimmon

Volunteer Position: Office Assistant

What is your favorite part about volunteering with MODC?

I really enjoy the team that I work with, and the setting of the work. I love the clerical work that I do, and feel a real sense of accomplishment from it. I also love the friends that I’ve met while I’ve been here.

What’s your favourite book?

My favorite book is a book that I read while I was a girl: Raggedy Ann

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

I would love to be able to cure or reverse Diabetes.

What is their go-to dessert?

All chocolate, mint, and coffee ice creams are my favorite dessert.

What is a recent movie you watched and what score would you give it out of 10?

I recently watched The Single Moms Club. I really enjoyed it and would give it 10/10!

We asked Tim why he nominated this volunteer.

Catherine, with her dedication, enthusiasm and commitment to MODC could be considered the ideal volunteer. She is proud of what she contributes to MODC and assists across all programs. It would be hard to find another volunteer who has contributed so much to the organization with so much enjoyment.

She arrives each day with a smile on her face, and is truly part of our family here.

How long have you been an MODC volunteer?

17.5 years.

Volunteer Spotlight: Catherine Chung. Favourite Book: Raggedy Ann.

If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit this landing page from the website: http://bit.ly/MODCVol

Ralph’s Journey

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Words by Ralph.

There are many things I am proud to have accomplished in my life.  Today, I am proud to add stroke survivor to that list.  March of Dimes Canada helped me get my life back.

My stroke left me feeling like I lost everything in an instant.  I became a guy who could not dress himself. I needed assistance with pretty much everything. I felt helpless, but most of all scared.

Thankfully, I learned about March of Dimes Canada Conductive Education® (CE) Program and all the ways in which they help stroke survivors return to independent life. Having already been in physical therapy for almost two years, I was skeptical as to how much more they could do for me. But participating in their Stroke and Fitness Program, I soon learned that I needed to stop focusing on what I couldn’t do and instead channel my energy into finding solutions to reach my milestones.

It’s been a long journey but one I am proud to have made.  Through MODC I have been clawing back to the point where I now live alone and I can do most of my daily chores independently. With each passing day, I regain more and more of my self-worth and dignity; I am no longer the guy who needs help with everything.

When you suffer a stroke, you lose everything in a matter of seconds, and it takes the rest of your life to gain it back.  March of Dimes Canada taught me if I want it back, I have to work for it.  It’s been three years since my stroke and I plan on working hard every day to get better and live as normal a life as I can.  The only thing that can stop a stroke survivor from getting better is giving up.  I’m not giving up.

I wouldn’t be where I am now without you.  Thank you.

 

If you’d like to help other stroke survivors like Ralph, please visit: https://marchofdimes.akaraisin.com/SpringGivingMay2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Parsons

Volunteer Spotlight: May 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Jane Parsons

Our volunteers are the best and we appreciate them for all the work they do.  This year we’re spotlighting them so we can get to know a little more of their interests! May’s spotlight is Jane Parsons. See her profile below!

Name: Jane Parsons

Nominated by: Devon Evershed

Volunteer Position: Peers Fostering Hope – Peer Visitor

What is your favorite part about volunteering with MODC?

I love to help others in their recovery.

If you read – what’s a good book you would recommend?

Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden, and The Marriage of Opposites – Alice Hoffman.

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

This I struggled with as no one power would help everyone! But if I had to have one, it would be to cure any child illness.

What is your go-to dessert?

Cheesecake and Rhubarb Pie

What is your favourite movie?

Sound of Music.

We asked Devon why she nominated this volunteer?

Jane is in her fourth year of volunteering with the Peers Fostering Hope (PFH) program. As a hospital volunteer she visits new stroke survivors and provides much needed inspiration and hope. She is a reliable and dedicated volunteer, who speaks positively about the PFH program to potential new volunteers by explaining the impact the program has made on her life and the difference that she feels she is making with others. Her honest and open communication is helpful to the patients she visits and other volunteers, who benefit from her wisdom.

In 2017, she joined a pilot project for community visiting as part of the PFH program. In this pilot she was matched with two individuals. She provided emotional support, helped with goal setting, and helped with accessing programs, to support reintegration into the community after stroke. According to one individual she supported: “She talks about what she’s gone through and what’s worked for her—it helps me know what’s coming. It prepares me as I go through the process and makes me feel like I’m not the only one who’s been through this.” She has been very proactive not only in her efforts to support these individuals but also in providing updates on her matches and suggestions to those who were administering the program. Jane, along with other volunteers from the program, have addressed a gap in care for stroke survivors and provided support during a crucial time of transition from hospital to home. It has been wonderful having Jane give back as part of the Peers Fostering Hope program.

How long have you been an MODC volunteer?

4 Years.

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If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit this landing page from the website: http://bit.ly/MODCVol

Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Ewer

Volunteer Spotlight: April 2018

Volunteer Spotlight: Mark Ewer

We could not do what we do without the help of volunteers. We’re happy to be celebration National Volunteer Week this month (April 15-21) and will continue to acknowledge our volunteers for all the wonderful and hard work they do.

We’re also excited to be featuring volunteer profiles this year in this community blog of ours – here’s your chance to know a little more about Mark Ewer, our spotlight for April!

Name: Mark Ewer

Volunteer Position: DesignAbility® Chairperson – Hamilton/Halton branch

What is your favorite part about volunteering with MODC?

Using my creative energy to come up with creative solutions to help people live independently.

If you read – what’s a good book you would recommend?

“Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson

If you had a superpower, what would it be?

Extreme intelligence/Creativity

What is your go-to dessert?

Chocolate Brownies

How long have you been an MODC volunteer?

15+ Years.

We asked Elaine Darling (DesignAbility®) why she nominated Mark Ewer to be a spotlight for our blog.

Mark has a huge commitment to the program, he’s very creative, and dedicated to helping people. He is truly a reflection of our organization’s mission.

 

Volunteer Spotlilght: Mark Ewer. Mark's book recommendation: "Steve Jobs" by Walter Isaacson.

If you’d like to learn more about March of Dimes Canada’s volunteering opportunities, please visit this landing page from the website: http://bit.ly/MODCVol