Great stories start with kind-hearted people like Peter and Ron. Beside the fact they are brothers-in-law, both men share something very special: The two retired men are volunteering on a regular basis with isolated seniors. It all started with Peter who first enrolled as an advocate with West Island Citizen Advocacy (WICA) a year ago.
“It’s just that if you have the time, patience, and humour, do it. It’s nice to put a smile on their face. Ross seems to enjoy my company. We do anything and everything he wants to do. It’s just a pleasure to be with him!”
A lesson we can all learn from Peter’s story is the fact that it is never too late to get involved in your community. In his fifties, he decided to become a volunteer for the first time in his life. As he said, it has been a great decision, considering the pleasure it gives him.
“It’s simply rewarding. It gets your mind sharp and the old fellow’s mind sharp too.”
Together, they do all sorts of things from hanging out at the mall to having a talk at his protégé’s residence. Sometimes they have lunch or dinner at his residence, other times they go out for a coffee. Peter has also accompanied his protégé in the process of finding a new residence. A combination of social and technical support constitutes the basis on which their friendship takes root.
“He tells me stories about where he’s from. He tells me the same stories all the time, and I always listen.” Peter chuckled as he reminisced on good memories.”
Making people happy is a contagious thing. That’s why when Peter told his brother-in-law, Ron, about his experience as an advocate with WICA, he enrolled as well. The moment Ron retired, he picked up the phone and gave the volunteer organization a call. Another friendship was about to be made.
“Life has been good to me. So, I’d like to give back to the society. My parents brought me up quite well. Respect your elders, help people, etc.”
When Ron met his protégé Maurice, he surely did not expect this experience to bring him in a boxing arena. In the late 1940s, Maurice began a professional boxing career. Ron did not know about it until the conversation came up. Then, he contacted the gym he used to go to, and schemed Maurice’s return into the ring at the golden age of 88 years old. Thanks to Ron, Maurice rediscovered a passion he had put aside for the past six years.
“And he had the time of his life! He was reminiscing about people; the trainers he hasn’t seen in just over six years. So we really had a good time together.”
(Maurice in the center)
Ron tries to do unconventional stuff with his protégé. Another example was that time when he brought Maurice to a coffee shop in Little Italy. Being a connoisseur of Italian coffee and biscotti, Ron thought his protégé would appreciate that kind of outing.
“So, we’ve been to Little Italy and he started reminiscing like “oh my god, I think I’ve been here in 1960s or something like that”. Everything started looking familiar.”
This experience has impacted his own life as much as his protégé’s. Even though he was a little bit hesitant at the beginning, Ron is grateful for making this decision. He says he is definitely calmer and more relaxed since he began volunteering. As for Maurice, family members around him have noticed a change for the best.
“It’s amazing to see a nice smile. I mean, it’s hard to explain. I don’t have parents; they passed away a year ago. It’s not the same, but it definitely fills that little void.”
Are you interested in volunteering? If so, please visit our page People helping people or call 514-694-5850.