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St. Joseph's Health Centre Toronto

Celebrating 1,436 volunteers across our network

It’s National Volunteer Week! To celebrate and honour our network’s incredible volunteers, we profiled a few of our many hardworking volunteers across Providence, St. Joseph’s and St. Michael’s. Their dedicated volunteer work includes assisting patients as they recover from surgeries, spending time with patients during their hospital stay, helping patients find their way around the hospital, and providing administrative support to both patients and staff. Read their stories here.

Zak Nakhuda is one of Providence’s wonderful volunteers, where he splits his time between two very different departments: Human Resources and Ambulatory Services. Zak is well-known for his reliability, and for bringing his positive attitude and passion to everything that he does.

Zak started volunteering at Providence Healthcare in 2015 after completing a diploma in administrative studies with specialization in medical administration. “I always knew I wanted to help and make a difference in the lives of others,” says Zak.

In HR and Ambulatory Services, Zak’s volunteer work includes providing administrative assistance to support both patients and staff. Zak credits his volunteer experience with helping him build meaningful relationships with staff, fellow volunteers, patients, and the community at large. “It gives me pride to know that I’ve been able to give back in so many different and positive ways. I continue to grow as a person through my volunteer experiences.”

Heather Jones, Sophie Czyzewski, Kathleen O’Brien, Maura Tootill, Joanne Bak, Nellie Dato, Sister Mary Carmen Maclean. (not pictured: Vilma Sharp, Shoney Farinas

Retirement often means spending less time at the place you work, but for nine long-term employees at St. Joseph’s, retiring meant they had more time to volunteer – at the hospital. Their reasons for coming back included wanting to give back to the community, help patients find their way around and support those recovering from surgery.

Together, these nine volunteers have a combined total of 254 years of employment at St. Joseph’s and now 125 years of volunteer service as well. Their hard work and dedication was recognized last month when they won a Legend Award for living our value of Community of Service – an award that they were nominated for by their peers. These nine women truly exemplify what it means to provide care to our community and we’re so grateful that they’re a part of our team.

Congratulations to this special group!

Jennifer Barretto started volunteering at St. Michael’s Hospital in January of 2009. She has since logged an incredible 1,090 volunteer hours during her regular weekly Saturday morning shifts at the hospital, and is showing no signs of slowing down.

Jennifer’s volunteer work creates a huge impact on patients. She volunteers at the General Internal Medicine department, where she spends the majority of her time conversing with the mostly elderly patients. She often finds herself engaging in philosophical conversations, doing crossword puzzles, sharing laughs, and helping them complete their daily menus.

Jennifer started volunteering at St. Michael’s because she was considering a career in medicine, and because she was born here and wanted to give back. She has since pursued a different career, but says the patients and staff at St. Michael’s are the reason she keeps coming back. “Every weekend I witness patients who courageously face their circumstances, and staff who compassionately help them see it through. I consider my years at St. Michael’s a true blessing.”

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