While playing the piano at a Mississauga care facility nearly 15 years ago, Keith Shrouder noticed an elderly female resident whose eyes were fixed on him during the community performance.
When he inquired about the resident, he was told that she had never received a visitor during her stay at the facility.
That led Shrouder to start volunteering at long-term care homes in the Greater Toronto Area.
Last Friday, he was among 39 volunteers recognized by the City of Toronto with 12 separate awards for improving the quality of life for residents at 10 nursing homes across the city.
Shrouder, who migrated from Jamaica in April 1962, has been a volunteer at Lakeshore Lodge since 2008.
“Keith exemplifies what a volunteer should be,” said his nominator. “He is patient, professional, willing to share his knowledge and some may say his most important asset is his great sense of humour. He has brought innovative ideas to meetings for the home and also for the dispersing of volunteer fundraising money…He has also gone above and beyond his duties by helping to prepare the Nevada License report which allows the sale of lottery tickets.”
In addition, Shrouder makes regular donations to the volunteers’ bake sale and plays the piano at the residents’ Sunday services.
“I am appreciative of this recognition and I enjoy doing what I do,” he said.
Shrouder’s love for giving goes beyond Lakeshore Lodge. Over the last five years, he has sent books and money to purchase musical equipment for students in Brown’s Town in St. Ann’s, Jamaica and he’s also the legal guardian for ex-Kingston College student, Shacier Locke, who is in his final year at John Cabot Catholic Secondary School in Mississauga.
An outstanding basketball player, Locke has scholarship offers from York University, Sheridan College and Algoma University in Sault Ste. Marie.
The City of Toronto owns and operates 10 long-term care homes and services. Last year, approximately 2,400 volunteers contributed close to 137,000 hours of service.
“Each person that is being recognized here has distinguished themselves in the services they provide,” said Reg Paul, the general manager for long-term care homes and services. “They have made and continue to make a huge difference in the lives of our residents. They are true partners who share our commitment to care values and who demonstrate, each day, compassion, accountability, respect and excellence in the services they provide to residents and clients.
“We are grateful for each and every person who volunteers at one of our 10 homes and for those who are deeply involved in divisional activities and initiatives. These awards are also a time for us to acknowledge the important work that they do.”
Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie joined deputy city manager Brenda Patterson in presenting the awards during National Volunteer Week celebrated from April 15-21. It’s estimated that almost 13 million Canadians volunteer each year.
“You and your volunteer peers are one of the reasons that this city is a great place to live,” Patterson told the award winners. “I know from personal experience working with both my mother and mother-in-law that the kinds of things you do can truly make a difference in people’s lives. I am sure many of you will agree it’s a rewarding experience.
“Calling out the bingo numbers, serving coffee in the tuck shop or just having a simple chat with a resident are little things that make a huge impact in the quality of the lives of the people who live in our homes and that’s why it’s important for us to recognize the excellence in volunteering that you do. Without you, frankly, our homes would not be anywhere near as pleasant a place for our residents to live…I am really impressed with the commitment and compassion that you bring to the residents.”
Faye Sandy and members of Bethel Restoration Ministry were honoured for the religious and spiritual care program they have been providing for residents of Castleview Wychwood Towers that serves 456 residents.
“We also welcome newcomers to Canada and encourage them to volunteer at Castleview,” said Sandy who came to Canada from Jamaica three decades ago and has been volunteering at the long-term care home for the past 27 years.
By RON FANFAIR