Volunteer Stories

Volunteers are essential to the work done by the Children's Foundation and they're part of what makes our community so great. We admire the many volunteers who step forward in a caring and supportive way and come together to invest their time, skills, and enthusiasm in helping in so many ways. 

FF
2020 - A Year of Incredible Support and Hope

As 2020 comes to an end, we wanted to take a moment to look back at the incredible impact that YOU helped us make in the community this year. Though 2020 has been a year with many challenges, it has also been a year where we have seen so much compassion, community support, and kindness!  At the start of the pandemic,...

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Trees for Tots 2020 - Our Biggest Year Yet!

                           On Saturday, January 11th over 100 trucks and 300 volunteers trekked out in the pouring rain to help the Children’s Foundation’s Trees for Tots event successfully completed the biggest and best year yet! Soaked but full of smiles, our volunteers collected 3,514 trees and helped us raise over $68,000!...

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A Recipe For Love

  For one youth who was referred to the Adopt-A-Family program, one “wish” on his list really stood out. In addition to needing things like a new winter coat and boots, bed sheets and towels, Tyler*, a 17-year old independent youth, really wanted family favourite recipes to cook his own meals. The teacher who referred Tyler described him as a...

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Snack Program Changes Student Eating Habits & Empowers Parent Volunteers

  Story provided by Danielle Stafford- Rockwood Cenntennial Public School Our program serves the obvious purpose of providing healthy nutrition to those students in need, whatever the reason.  We have worked diligently in past years to remove the stigma of needing to access the program and feel all students know they are welcome to access the program.  One mother has...

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Briar Rocks
Morgan and Briar ROCK!

Meet Morgan (age 9) and Briar (age 7), two young girls from Elora using their artistic talents to raise money so they can adopt two families this holiday season. With help from their parents, they lovingly created 40+ personalized pebble art pieces, surpassing their goal. When they stopped by the Adopt-A-Family site, they presented the Children's Foundation with our very...

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Healthy Snacks
Healthy Snack Warriors

Lesley and Brandi, the new Food & Friends program coordinators at the Brisbane Public School snack program, wanted to provide more than a healthy snack to their 410 students; they wanted to encourage healthier habits for the whole family. Lesley shared "Food is not a topic that we tend to focus on in our schools unless it’s under the heading...

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FF Vols
Volunteers Helping Families During Difficult Times

What do we do when a pandemic hits and we need to rethink how we deliver our Food & Friends school nutrition programs? We call on our amazing and dedicated volunteers to step up and help with our Fresh Food for Kids initiative! With 23 wonderful volunteers helping at our Elora packaging facility and more helping at our Guelph packaging...

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Brenda Yogurt
The Volunteers of COVID-19 and Food & Friends at Home

Millions of people across Canada have come together during these times and found meaningful ways to give back to their community. We would like to tell you an inspirational story of our Food & Friends at Home volunteers. These individuals have truly made a difference and are feeding their passions through volunteering. When COVID-19 hit, the organization needed to take...

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Nancy and Henry Kielar
Nancy & Henry Kielar - A Caring Couple

 Henry & Nancy Kielar dressed as Tim Horton and Hot Chocolate for the foundation's 2017 Canada-themed Gala Nancy and Henry Kielar are a couple who care - about raising their two sons to do their best and be their best, about their extended family and circle of friends, and about the Guelph community they call home. They have always volunteered...

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CMacdonald
Crystal MacDonald: Doing Her Part to Feed Hunry Minds

  Crystal MacDonald is an energetic mom of four boys who loves volunteering in a variety of roles within her childrens' school. She is a volunteer school council member, she assists on many school trips, and she also helps within the classrooms; all because she loves working with the students and doing her part to make things easier for the...

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Trees 4 Tots Volunteers: Soaked, But All Smiles!

I would like you to take a moment to study the photo above. Did you notice that about 85% of the volunteers in this room are men? Every study ever conducted on volunteerism shows a noticeable gender inequality. According to a survey, on average, women are nearly 30% more likely to volunteer than men. When men decide to volunteer, it...

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Bea
Bea Long: Elf of All Trades

    Beatrice, or Bea as she’s known in her Elf role at the Children’s Foundation Adopt-A-Family Program, has volunteered with the program for about seven years. Bea first became involved with the program by wrapping gifts. Not long after, she was introduced to other roles that included matching families and donors, greeting donors at their gift drop-off, helping process...

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Gala Vols
2019 Around The World Gala Volunteers

  The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington relies upon our volunteers to carry out the important work we do, to interact with our donors and help facilitate our events. Our volunteers are committed to our cause and represent our organization, in the most profound way.  The volunteers who take part in the preparation and facilitation of the Around The...

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Leah
Experiencing New Joys: Leah Dube

We often hear stories about the positive impact that our Food & Friends student nutrition programs have on the many students that we feed, however these positive benefits can often reach beyond the children and also support our many volunteers who give so generously of their time. Leah Dube is the program coordinator and parent volunteer of the JD Hogarth...

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Gillian
Sunshine Squad Superstar: Gillian Cuthbert

Gillian Cuthbert has been a member of the Sunshine Squad for 3 years as an Ambassador for the Children’s Foundation. In this role, Gillian represents the Foundation at community events by promoting its programs and services. She is passionate about increasing both public awareness of the Foundation and understanding of its goals. She also volunteers at many of the Foundation’s...

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Stacey Dennings
Stacey Jennings, One Woman Show

 Stacey Jennings is a busy mom of three and volunteer extraordinaire. She coordinates the Food & Friends morning meal program at Minto-Clifford Public School in Harriston, volunteering every school day to bring healthy food to hungry minds. “Four years ago Minto-Clifford's morning meal program was almost non-existent. I saw an opportunity to help the students within our school and knowing...

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Claire Jackson profile picture
Claire Jackson: A True Holiday Hero

Volunteer, Friend, Grandma, Dog Lover, Nature Enthusiast, Golfer, Chef, Hostess Extraordinaire - sounds like a pretty amazing woman! Introducing Claire Jackson. Claire first came to the Children’s Foundation nine years ago through the Adopt-A-Family program. She was working part-time and filled her spare time with volunteer commitments. She eventually gave up her paid job and devoted her time to volunteering...

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Halloween
The Spooky Souls of the Children's Foundation

      The staff at the Children’s Foundation know all too well how important volunteerism is. The programs and events at the foundation just would not be possible without support from the outstanding volunteers who donate their time. It is interesting to know, however, that the reach of this terrifying team goes far beyond the programs offered through the Children’s Foundation....

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Kate Bryan
Kate Bryan - whose impact is multi-faceted

Kate Bryan is a very dedicated volunteer of the Food & Friends Program who enhances the excellent work of the Children's Foundation. She is invaluable to the Foundation as well as to the community in which she serves. Four years ago Kate was asked to take over the role of Student Nutrition Program Coordinator for the Food & Friends breakfast...

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SOAR
Flying Higher than Ever Before.

The SOAR Race Directors!   The only way to know how far you will go in life is to spread your wings and SOAR! The Southern Ontario Amazing Race (SOAR) is Ontario’s Longest Running Adventure Race fundraiser. It is a 3rd party fundraising event to support the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington. The event raises between $70,000 - $80,000...

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Teresa Durigon, leading with Passion

    Name: Teresa Durigon   Volunteer Position: Board Member   Why Children’s Foundation? Teresa has always been passionate about helping people, but about 12 years ago her passion turned toward children while serving as the chair of the Parent/Teachers Association at St. John Catholic School. It was here where it came to her attention that her children were sharing...

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Ron and Jessie
"Volunteerism Gives A Special Meaning To Life"

  Jessie Watt & Ron Cowley At first glance, Children’s Foundation volunteers would be seen giving their time at our events, at various schools helping to serve meals, in our office doing day-to-day tasks, or speaking on our behalf in the community. What you might not see are the volunteers who also work behind the scenes giving hours of their...

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Pam
Pam Wakefield, Making Play Possible

  With busy lives, it can be hard to find time to volunteer. However, the benefits of volunteering are enormous to you, your family, and your community. Pam Wakefield has made her commitment to volunteerism a priority in her busy life.  Pam started volunteering with the Children's Foundation in October 2016. She originally took on the role of Office Volunteer,...

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Tara
Tara Armstrong

Tara's volunteer service at Victoria Terrace Public School started as an Educational Assistant in a Grade 1 and 2 class when her two children were attending the school; she then became a Food & Friends Program Coordinator and has now been involved with the school's student nutrition program for five years. She also sits on the parent council and has organized...

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youth
The Truth About Our Youth

Did you know youth make up a quarter of the world’s population today and that is the highest percentage in recorded history? The youth we mean people between the ages of 15 and 24 years old. Our youth represent an extremely valuable resource. Equipped already with energy, good will and creativity they are the key to our future. Volunteering and...

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cindy
Adopt-A-Family is making a difference.

As we approach the busiest week of the year at the Adopt-A-Family site, we still have over 400 families' gifts to come in. It is easy to forget when we have our nose to the grindstone, just how hard everyone is working. We want to take a moment to recognize a wonderful and amazing group of volunteers.        ...

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Marni and Family
A Family of Support

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...

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F&F
What You Do Makes A Difference - Many Thanks to Our Volunteers

 Volunteer opportunities abound with the Children's Foundation Volunteer Program, and volunteers are treated as valued members of the organization with their own individual needs. Whether you're feeling socially isolated, want to hone up on your skills, want to learn new skills, or are looking to enhance your resume, there are opportunities for you to fulfill your goals and to feel...

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Jan
Jan Craig: Part of our History

  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...

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Anu
Anu Saxena is a Volunteer with a Heart for Giving

  Anu remembers when she first heard about the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington throughout the community. She remembers seeing its programs advertised in local newspapers and, with a heart for helping those in need, she was drawn to the organization. Her first involvement volunteering with the Foundation was in 2011 when she became the Children’s Foundation Food &...

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Mark and Grace
Grace and Mark Evans: Volunteers AKA Angels in Disguise

  The Food for Thought Breakfast Program started in 1999, when the principal at the time noticed that students were going into the cafeteria looking for food that was a day old or going to be discarded.  The Guelph Collegiate Vocational Institute staff members realized there was a real need as students did not seem to have enough food in...

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Dawn Kelly

Dawn was looking to volunteer in an office position which she felt would help her to both maintain her current administrative skills as well as help her learn new skills while looking for paid employment in her field. The Children's Foundation helped me fund my children's soccer and camp fees and so I felt that volunteering with this organization would...

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Patti Schopp

It is no exaggeration to say that Patti Schopp is one of the Children’s Foundation’s most enthusiastic volunteers! For this enthusiasm and dedication, Patti was recognized as our 2015 Volunteer of the Year. Patti doesn’t only coordinate one Food and Friends student nutrition program, she coordinates three at Waverley Drive public school - a breakfast, snack and lunch program. She...

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Tara Bernard-McCabe

  Tara Bernard-McCabe was presented with the 2011 Volunteer of Year Award. Tara fulfills the very demanding job of program coordinator for not just one but two student nutrition programs in Shelburne. She has managed these programs with efficiency and creativity, making one of the programs financially self-sustainable with her incredible ability to garner support from the community and businesses...

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Jeanne Forsythe

"I am proud to be involved in an organization like the Children’s Foundation that makes a difference in young people’s lives.” Jeanne Forsythe has played a significant part in the phenomenal growth of The Children’s Foundation. In 1976, while she was an employee for Family & Children’s Services, she was involved in the establishment of the Stephen Promoli Memorial Fund. The...

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linda
Linda Ghent

  Linda Ghent was presented with the award for Volunteer of the Year in 2012. Linda has shown true dedication for the JD Hogarth nutrition program by being the program coordinator for over 6 years. The program at JD Hogarth makes healthy snacks available to its 570 students all five days of the week. To make this happen, Linda spends...

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Jessica Haylow
Jessica Haylow

Jessica Haylow is an inspiring young lady who goes above and beyond by giving her time to support our Food and Friends Program. Two years ago, Jessica agreed to take on the responsibility of enhancing the Sacred Heart School Snack Program. She has excelled at volunteer management, menu planning, financial accountability and most of all the amazing way she connects...

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Joanne McCombie

  We were honoured to present our Volunteer of the Year award to Joanne McCombie at this year's gala. Adopt-A-Family is an impactful and successful program that would not be possible without the commitment of a dedicated team of volunteers. Each of these volunteers was a critical part of the program being able to assist 750 families in 2012. One...

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Jessie McConnell

On behalf of the Food and Friends team and The Children's Foundation - congratulations to Jessie McConnell on the well deserved nomination for the Women of Distinction awards. Jessie, Breakfast Program Coordinator at the GCVI Breakfast Club, has been nominated in the Volunteer Category. Ann Murray, Rector’s Warden, from St. James Anglican Church who host the program wrote this great...

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Mandy Morrison
Mandy Morrison

Tell us why you decided to become a Food and Friends volunteer and the impact the position has had on you. "The classic stereotype of a volunteer is someone who has lots of time to spare and is looking for something to do. For me, this is not the case! Despite my busy schedule, I do my best to arrive...

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Nancy Revie
Nancy Revie

I love volunteering for The Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington. Why? Because it’s a place where I can use my gifts and skills to bless others and nothing feels better than that! My association with this organization is quite by accident. It’s one of those – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know! One of my most...

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Jason Clattenburg

     (Jason working on the Children's Foundation's Santa Claus parade float in 2013) "We make a living by what we get but we make a life by what we give"   - Winston Churchill Jason Clattenburg makes a living by working at Toyota Manufacturing but that is such a small piece of who he is.  Jason has been an...

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Vikki
Vikki Palmer

      Vikki is relatively new to our team of volunteers here at the Children's Foundation, and what an asset she has become! Vikki volunteers on a weekly basis, coming to the office by bus. We are so impressed with her dedication; no matter what the weather holds, heat or rain, she will be here smiling and ready to...

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Nicole
Nicole Debeyer

Nicole has always volunteered in the community, she believes that it's everyones calling to provide service. "It just makes sense to me to share my cooking skills, to teach students to cook and to provide other students with nutritious meals at little or no cost. "The fundraising activities for the breakfast program at my school have provided a valuable networking...

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CIndy Copeland
Cindy Copeland

When Cindy Copeland moved to Guelph over 10 years ago from Toronto, she wanted to get out and meet some new people and get involved in the community.  She decided volunteering would be a great way to do so.  Cindy found the Children’s Foundation Adopt-A-Family program and has now been with the program for 11 years. Since she first began...

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AAF Family
Adopt-A-Family Volunteer Team.

The volunteer team Christmas spirit abounds this year at the site of Adopt-A-Family (AAF) on Huron Street in Guelph. Claire is a volunteer editor and she works in the office ensuring that every detail of the donor and recipient paperwork for AAF is accurate and complete. Claire loves her position and states that "what keeps me here is the people", meaning...

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MD
Michael Douglas

  . Michael Douglas started volunteering for the Children's Foundation in 2015, in the years he has been involved in the organization he has become instrumental in the planning and organization of Trees for Tots.  Michael has taken this event on in a profound and very personal way.  It is with certainty that we can say this event would not...

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Mike Pecora
Mike Pecora, It's A Family Affair.

  Mike Pecora originally learned about Trees for Tots when he read an article in the local newspaper.  Mike was impressed with the work that Children’s Foundation is doing locally, and felt inspired to get involved.  Having equipment that would be of benefit to Trees for Tots, and strong belief in volunteering for the community, he signed up as a...

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Jane
Jane Vander Velden

Meet Jane: Jane is a teacher and volunteer coordinator with the Children’s Foundation Food & Friends Student Nutrition Program at Centre Peel Public School. Jane was the driving force behind the development and growth of this school’s morning meal program. She started the program 10 years ago, seeing a real need at the school. “The children were coming to school...

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Guelph Girls
Volunteering as a Team

“Good Players Inspire Themselves; Great Players Inspire Others”   Group volunteering can include working alongside friends, neighbours, colleagues or your sports team. What differentiates group volunteering from individual volunteering is the teamwork necessary for its success. Group volunteering involves working together towards a common goal of making change in the community. When groups come together to serve their community it...

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Tree tag
Difference Maker, Game-Changer and Hand Raiser- Luke Berzins

Around the holidays, when most university students are gearing up for final exams, Luke Berzins generously donates his spare time and energy to helping our Trees for Tots committee.   His efforts have made a big difference to the initiative and he says the work comes with its own rewards.  On that cold January day, over 200 volunteers come from all...

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f&f
Well-Nourished and Ready to Learn

Over a million Ontario students will have access to healthy food at school again this school year thanks in part to the support of Student Nutrition Ontario (SNO), The Children’s Foundation Food & Friends Program and their partners.   As students head back to school, many are looking forward to accessing healthy food provided in one of the province’s 4,500+...

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mary
Remembering Mary Carlin

Yesterday we said goodbye to a truly unique and special friend, Mary Carlin. Mary began volunteering with Family & Children’s Services (F&CS) in 1988 as a parent aid where she worked with parents, primarily single mothers, to help with their children. Her non-judgmental and kind one-on-one approach helped her connect with and help many at-risk families and children. While volunteering...

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Flowers
Thank You Volunteers, We Couldn't do it Without You!

    Dear Children's Foundation Volunteers, I sit in awe as I look back on 2016 and all the ways you have supported us over this past year. Thank you hardly seems enough… We have been so fortunate to have you! For some people volunteering is about giving, but for the volunteers of the Children’s Foundation it is a way...

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Jamie Noland with crew
The helping hands of Trees for Tots

  Trees for Tots, our annual Christmas tree pick-up event, started in December 2012, when the Christmas tree pick-up program run by the city ended. The Children’s Foundation saw an opportunity to take on the program as a donation-for-service event. “That first year was a bit overwhelming,” says Glenna Banda, the Foundation’s Executive Director. “We didn’t have the technology to...

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