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HORIZONS Volunteer Challenge 2008 - West

Samantha Clarke

Location: Grandy’s River Collegiate, Burnt Islands, NL

Activity: Big Brother Big Sister Program


At Grandy’s, the Big Brothers Big Sisters is a program that consists of two things. The Accelerated Reader and Intramurals. Intramurals includes the older students getting together with the younger students and having some fun while also teaching them skills like teamwork, and showing them how to play some fun games while cooperating and working as a team. Intramurals is a very fun activity for both the volunteers and the younger students, I always enjoy my time teaching the children new games and helping them learn to get along with each other. The Accelerated Reader is also the older students helping with the younger students. We help them pick books that are right for their level and books they will enjoy. To be able to do this program correctly you have to know what each child is capable of in order to assist them when they pick out their books. Accelerated reader is an excellent program for the students, and I love helping the kids out in whatever way I can!

What skills were helpful in your work? Did you refine existing skills or develop new ones? How might you apply these newly discovered skills in other situations?

This program is all about getting along well with the little kids and having fun with them so that they feel comfortable around the older students in the school and they get to have a bit more time in the gym. When working with children cooperation, patience, organization, and leadership can be extremely important. It can sometimes be difficult to get the children to listen to you, so you have to be able to handle it.

What are your long-term goals? How does this experience connect to your long-term goals?

Once I am out of high school I wish to become a teacher. This program allows me to spend time with children and to farther develop my skills that will be needed to excel in the profession. I love helping people and doing whatever I can to benefit others, I am very much a people person. A teacher seems to be just right for the things I love.

Describe what you consider to be an “ideal citizen” of your community. What qualities do they possess? What values do they hold? Are they involved in the community?

An ideal citizen loves to help out, and doesn’t mind spending some of their free time volunteering. Ideal citizens should love to be involved in the things going on in their community, and love to be with others doing whatever they can to help.

Parinita Verma

Location: Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital

Location: Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital

Apart from my school work, I love engaging in extra activities around the community that would contribute and help other people. I always had the desire to volunteer in the hospital setting where I could share feelings with the patients and talk to them through their difficult times. This is why I started volunteering at the Sir Thomas Roddick Hospital in Stephenville, Newfoundland April 3, 2006, and still continue today. Jenny McKay, in charge of the volunteer resources department, gave me the orientation in the hospital and explained my responsibilities.

Every Wednesday after school I, along with other volunteers, assist the staff and the patients by doing different duties. I organize and tidy the books within the waiting room areas and the volunteer room. I am able to meet and socialize with the patients in a friendly environment. We discuss and share many topics such as their feelings, how long they are staying in the hospital for, stories about their experiences, and families. To make their stay as enjoyable as possible, we share jokes, read magazines together, or even play games such as checkers, chess, or boggle. If any patient wants anything to drink or eat, I prepare a snack for them. Sometimes, I accompany a patient for a walk in the corridor to the courtyard where we can sit and read or watch the television together.

Along with helping the patients, my role is also to help the nurses or staff on duty. For example, around dinnertime, we help clear the patient’s tables. Furthermore, I help deliver the meal trays to the patients. After dinner time, we help pick up the meal trays as well. I believe volunteering at the hospital is a magnificent way to spend my spare time. Every volunteer experience in different and it gives me a sense of satisfaction that I have made an everlasting impact on some people.

This activity is greatly valuable to the community because it allows volunteers to make positive contributions to the society. It is interesting how volunteering at the hospital makes the community a better happier place because whenever I helped patients and staff, in any way, there is a smile on their faces. By volunteering, you could meet remarkable people that would not have been ordinarily met in my personal circle. Meeting and sharing feelings of the patients during their difficult times, can help make the members of the community come together and become more content. Many of the patients in the hospital setting are adults which have many memories or knowledge about many topics such as their family and way of life. From past experience, I have learned many new things by interacting with different people at the hospital. This activity helps the volunteer become a role model for others in the community. Sharing fun experiences with family and friends encourages them to participate and make a difference in other members of the society as well.

Some of the skills that were helpful were my communication, organizational, and leadership skills. Volunteering at the hospital definitely improved my existing skills. It refined my self-confidence by talking to others in the community, and allowed me to respect, care and value others more. I developed a range of communication skills and improve their ability to work in a team through volunteering. These skills could be easily applied to other situations such as at school with my teachers and classmates, home with my family or family, upcoming volunteer experiences, as well as in my future career.

When I finish high school, I plan on going to University and become a Family Physician. My experiences at the hospital connect to my long term goal because in the future I will be working in a similar setting where I have to interact with and help others. This experience helps me get an understanding of the work setting. I enjoy volunteering at the local hospital which has helped me focus on my goal in entering the medical field.

I believe an ideal citizen of my community is a former teacher, Bob Byrnes. In fact he was the Citizen of the Year for Stephenville in 2006 and holds many qualities. Firstly he is determined and reliable. He sets goals and tries to achieve them. He is respecting and appreciative because he always praises his wife for her support and thanked the people of Stephenville who continue to have trust in him. He is encouraging as he mentioned on several occasions that he is amazed at the work ethic of the young people and encouraged them to stay engaged in organizations like cadets and the Duke of Edinburgh program. Elected to town council three times, Bob Byrnes devotes time in building and maintaining our community. During the past year he has been involved in groups including the Hockey Day in committee, Stephenville Winter Carnival committee and the Stephen Awards Committee. He has also been chairman of the Downtown Business Improvement Association for 13 years. He was engaged in projects for the community such as new street lights for Main Street, interlocking paving stone sidewalks and summer projects. Bob serves as the provincial representative on the Stephenville Airport Board. Lastly he spends time minor hockey, chairs banquets, and other social events. Many of the Characteristics Bob Byrnes holds are what every one should have. Many people, such as me, look up to him to become engaged in the community and make a difference to our society.