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Finding purpose through volunteering

When I moved into my home, I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of displacement and discomfort. My family had moved four times in 18 months. We were exhausted. One day, I flipped open my laptop with piles of unopened boxes still around me and started searching for volunteer opportunities.

That’s when I came across Elmira District Community Living (EDCL) – an organization that supports persons living with intellectual disabilities. I’ll confess – I knew nothing about this field.

I filled out my volunteer application to be a virtual reader or walking companion, drove back to Kitchener for my police record check, and anxiously awaited a response. A week later, Jenn Maxwell, the Volunteer Coordinator reached out to me. “Would you like to read to someone?” she asked. I instantly said yes. Reading lit up my life and I wanted to do the same for someone else.

A few weeks later I was introduced to the person I’d be reading to, and there it all began. We found a joyful book, and each week I hopped online and read for one hour as I watched the person on the other end draw characters from the story. It was the beginning of a special friendship. I was starting to find a way to add value to someone’s life. After each session, the person shared their interpretation of the story, with drawings of abstract human figures that became more elaborate over time. My heart was becoming full.

As time flew by, I started learning more about my new home from Community Living staff. The history of Elmira and EDCL. The needs of persons living with intellectual disabilities. The best part of it all; my volunteer role evolved to include writing.

Become a volunteer

If you are 18 years old or older and would like to engage with our community on a personal level – apply today! Once you’ve submitted an application, we will do a personal interview to discover the best fit for you. We will  also do a reference check and police records check for the safety of our community. We require a minimum of a 12 week commitment.

> Apply now for a Direct Support Volunteer Position

If you are 16 years old or older and would like to participate behind the scenes, we’d love to have you! Once you’ve completed an application, we’ll do a personal interview to talk about your expectations. We will also do a reference check and some positions require a police records check.

> Apply now for an Indirect Support Volunteer Position