Jan's volunteer work with the Children's Foundation began many years ago through the breakfast program at Tytler Public School, originally funded by Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health. Driven to the program through her work as a nutritionist with Public Health, Jan continued volunteering for the program even when funding later came from the Canadian Red Cross Society. Jan's daughter eventually joined her as a volunteer and together they prepared nutrious food for children who would otherwise go without breakfast. In 2009, the breakfast program came to the Children's Foundation and is know today as the Food & Friends Program.
From the ranks of a volunteer, Jan's involvement with the Foundation continued to grow and in 2010 she joined the Board of Directors. Acting as Board Chair from 2012-2016, Jan continued serving as a Board Member until June of this year (2017). Thankfully, she is refusing to leave us and plans to stay on as an event volunteer and an enthusiastic advocate within the community.
Truly with a golden heart, Jan's volunteerism reaches far beyond the Children's Foundation: she has served as Board Chair for the Heart and Stroke Foundation, she volunteers with Dublin Street United Church, and organizes and prepares the weekly hot suppers at Royal City Church in downtown Guelph. She also volunteers with Syrian families, helping with everything from how to apply for licenses, how to take buses, taking them to appointments, providing support and a family connection for their children and referring them to organizations such as the Children's Foundation, particularly the Free to Play Program.
Jan's motivation to volunteer was developed at an early age and instilled as one of her core family values. "It's always been part of my lifestyle," she says. She has shared those values with her family as well and been joined by her daughter at several volunteer events.
One of Jan's most memorable experiences with the Children's Foundation is volunteering with the Southern Ontario Amazing Race. She finds it a particularly motivating and inspiring experience, driven by a remarkable leadership committee. She loves listening to the racers about their event challenges and overcoming obstacles along the way.
When asked what Jan has gained from volunteering with the Foundation, she emphasizes that it's the insight into the lives of various communities of children, particularly evident in the Adopt-A-Family and Food & Friends Programs. "The stories of families are humbling," says Jan, referring to the many life stories she's heard over the years and how positive the impact of the Children's Foundation has been on their well-being.
When asked what she would say to new volunteers, Jan said she would tell them, "I hope you get as much job satisfaction and enjoyment as I have, realizing that you are working as part of a team who are there to help you and having fun while doing it."
Thank you, Jan, for your continued dedication and advocacy! You are a huge part of our history and we would not be where we are without you.