Nancy & Henry Kielar - A Caring Couple
July 20, 2020
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 while raising their kids but now that they've both retired, they have given even more of their time and the Children's Foundation is richer for it.
Nancy first began volunteering for the foundation's Adopt-A-Family program in 2015, quickly becoming an integral member of the team of volunteer elves. “The volunteers are the back-bone of the Adopt-A-Family program,” says Karyn Kirkwood, Program Director. “Nancy is someone I rely on a lot to not only ‘get the job done’, but to identify better ways to do things, helping to improve the program every year. But it’s her cheerful, enthusiastic, can-do attitude that I value the most. Her personality is infectious and makes it feel like we are really at Santa’s workshop where anything is possible!”
Nancy believes strongly in giving back and being part of the community, and working with the Children’s Foundation reaps benefits for her too. “Volunteering with the Children’s Foundation fills me up - I love being a part of a team that is making a difference in the lives of children and their families in our community. The ability to continue to use my skills, knowledge and experience in a meaningful way is so important to me and the foundation has given that opportunity to me. It's a wonderful place to volunteer - the environment and people are inclusive, positive, supportive, and fun!"
Henry has recently joined the team of volunteers at the foundation, supporting the Fresh Food for Kids and Free to Grow at Home initiatives. Like Nancy, Henry also brings an unflappable can-do attitude and has been a godsend in helping with the intricate job of mapping out delivery routes for the food and recreation kit deliveries.
“When we began the Fresh Food for Kids initiative, it was all brand new to us and required us to figure out quickly how to package and deliver healthy food to kids,” says Brenda Walsh, Outreach Manager. “Henry offered to learn a delivery app called Routific, which has made the world of difference in managing the hundreds of deliveries our volunteers are doing weekly. Not only did Henry jump right in and master routific, he’s also shown great care in making the volunteer experience flawless for our drivers – even to the point of contacting Google Maps to correct an error in their mapping! That’s just the kind of amazingly thoughtful person Henry is and we’ve been so fortunate to have his help. I can honestly say, we could not have responded so quickly in providing emergency support without his help.”
When asked what motivates him to volunteer, Henry responded, “Because I can! Life has treated me well thus far and I am in a position where I can give back. Being part of the team of volunteers that are trying to make the lives of children better is so rewarding. Children are our future and anything we can do to improve their start in life is wonderful.”
In addition to all the support they offer to the Children’s Foundation, they have also given their time and talents to the Trillium Waldorf School where their boys attended elementary school. Henry was also a leader for Scouts Canada for about 12 years, working his way from Beavers, Cubs, Scouts to Venturers as his boys grew. He’s also an assistant coach for Guelph Basketball and participates in the Volunteer Income Tax Clinics during March and April. Nancy has also volunteered for the Families and Schools Together program (FAST) through Family Counselling and Support Services, and has recently joined the Board of the Guelph Rowing Club where her eldest son has trained.
The Children's Foundation is so grateful to Nancy and Henry for caring and sharing their gifts with us, benefitting the lives of so many children.