Canuck Place volunteer Helene Robillard knows just how to make Canuck Place child Levi smile, as they stroll through the beautiful grounds at Dave Lede House in Abbotsford.

Sharing trusted hearts, endless support at times of greatest need

Celebrating National Volunteer Week at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice

Over the last three years, Canuck Place volunteer Helene Robillard has spent many memorable hours at Abbotsford’s Dave Lede House.

With a ready smile and keen willingness to help, Helene has contributed more than 730 volunteer hours to the children’s hospice since September 2017, during regular afternoon shifts and at many major Canuck Place events.

“Helene’s attention to detail and efficiency makes her an invaluable volunteer,” says Deborah, a Dave Lede House counsellor. “Whatever endeavour she’s supporting is enriched by her engaging personality and ‘can do’ spirit. I’m so grateful she’s a part of our CPCH volunteer squad.”

When volunteering in-house, Helene works directly with children and families, providing practical, emotional and social support. Always busy, you’ll often find her baking up a batch of cookies, deep-cleaning toys when the children are napping or mentoring new volunteers.

“Helene connects with every child. She takes the time to learn what brings joy to each child, what makes them laugh. She knows their heart, and openly shares hers with them,” says Karen, a registered nurse.

Helene is one of hundreds of volunteers who make the work Canuck Place undertakes possible.

“We love our volunteers, and can’t say enough about how much we appreciate their hard work and endless support they provide to children, families and staff,” says Jessica Tremblay, Director Volunteer and Support Services. “Our volunteers are part of the very fabric of Canuck Place, helping make it the trusted and respected pediatric palliative care organization it is today.”

As a healing environment to ease suffering and help navigate grief and loss, Canuck Place provides pediatric palliative care for children and families right here in the Fraser Valley and across BC & Yukon. Their children are the most medically complex and ill children in the province. This past year alone, more than 765 children with life-threatening illnesses and families were supported through inpatient and outpatient care in the hospice, in-home, and in-hospital.

Bringing huge hearts and a willingness to do whatever is needed, Canuck Place volunteers at Abbotsford’s Dave Lede House and Vancouver’s Glen Brae hospice contribute over 24,000 hours each year – equivalent to the cost of hiring 12 full-time staff! Canuck Place wouldn’t be the same without them.

The motivation to give; the inspiration to grow

As valued members of the Canuck Place team, volunteers are an integral force behind the spirit of compassion and care that defines the children’s hospice.

Each week, approximately 100 volunteers provide essential support throughout Canuck Place – everything from playing with children, answering phones and stuffing mail to tending gardens, changing light bulbs and baking cookies. They’re also essential to Canuck Place’s ongoing fundraising endeavours and special events.

Recognizing their significant role, volunteers receive comprehensive training complemented by ongoing education and support. The result is a dedicated and loyal group of passionate individuals – a direct benefit to the children and families served and to the community as a whole as these volunteers go in to share the knowledge, skills and experience gained at Canuck Place.

There are ongoing opportunities to give back at Canuck Place, especially once through the Covid-19 crisis. Visit canuckplace.org/volunteers to learn more, including corporate volunteer opportunities. And to donate today, visit canuckplace.org/donate.

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Volunteering really is Blair Neufeld’s superpower! Longtime Canuck Place volunteer Blair and Canuck Place child Soskay show off their power poses!

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