Ontario is in crisis.
This is not a controversial statement by any means as reports of residents of our province lining up in hot spots in Toronto and Peel Region for an opportunity to receive their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine have been widespread. The images of people lined up around tracks and football fields to access a form of healthcare is not something we are accustomed to in Canada.
Vaccines are an important tool to help move us out of the pandemic and toward some semblance of our normal lives.
I began volunteering at Ontario Shores nine years after overcoming a very difficult period in my life: my father’s suicide. I decided that following his tragedy, this would be a great way to give back to others struggling with mental illness.
My father was the type of man who would never ask for help, but would take his shirt off his back for a stranger. He was always so caring, compassionate and giving. His tragic death inspired me to help others and give back to the community.
I joined the volunteer team at Ontario Shores without realizing how impactful the experience would be on my personal life.
I began volunteering during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Gift Shop, Drop-in Centre and at Coffee Hour. The pandemic has had an impact on my own mental health due to the social restrictions, but being able to come to the hospital and share stories with the patients was a great experience that helped uplift my spirits.