Marni Struyk was asked by her friend and Chair of the Gala Committee to volunteer three years ago, and she has never looked back. The first year, she brought her son, Tyler, and her husband, Jeff, along. The following year Marni's daughter, Jessie, joined them and the rest is history - Marni has recruited her whole family to volunteer at the annual Children's Foundation Around the World Gala, creating an awesome family volunteering team. The support the Struyks offer is invaluable and we simply couldn’t do it without them! We look forward to seeing their smiling faces at the Gala for years to come.

Marni and Family 

Marni is committed, outgoing, friendly and passionate about volunteering. She started volunteering at a young age, inspired by her grandmother who organized volunteers to fundraise for the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada. Marni remembers many years as a child selling geraniums as a fundraiser for the cause. Her daughter Jessie is now following in her footsteps; she loves volunteering and helps out at summer camps and with the Guelph Girls Hockey Association.

Marni's family volunteers a lot together: Marni and Jeff have been involved in various activities over the years and their children often take part. Marni and Jeff coach, facilitate and offer leadership to many organizations. As a family affair, Marni emphasizes that volunteering is extremely important. For her son, it was his volunteer experience at the Gala that made him realize not all children have the opportunity to play sports like he did. Marni and her family are now looking into other Children's Foundation events they can get involved in and are thinking about joining the Tree for Tots volunteer team this year.

Volunteer Canada statistics report that adolescents who are involved in community service or who volunteer are more likely as adults to have a strong work ethic, to volunteer and to vote. Volunteering is associated with the development of greater respect for others, leadership skills and an understanding of citizenship that often carries over into adulthood. According to at least one study, the benefits of volunteering in adolescence may even reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease as adults.

In today’s fast paced society where our time is so precious and we often don't have extra time to give, Marni points out the true value of family volunteering is that we can give together. With the support of a family of volunteers like this, we see the true spirit of giving and we appreciate every minute of their time!