Volunteer Time Capsule Interviews

Its National Volunteer Week! We are lucky to have a volunteer team that is made up of so many intelligent, funny, and interesting people. This year we are not able to all be together to celebrate, but some of our volunteers have kindly agreed to taking part in a miniature time capsule of West End life in Spring 2020.

To all of our volunteers (past, present, future) Thank You!

Olivia – Chop n’ Chat

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? The thing that is special to me about Gordon House is the community hub that it provides to the neighbourhood. It offers a place where community members can connect and be supported either through attending programs or even volunteering which is really cool!

 What is your favourite West End memory? I have really special memories of visiting my grandma who lived in an apartment in the West End. We would go to the public library and then walk around Lost Lagoon.

What is your go to quarantine activity? My go to quarantine activity is for sure baking! I have been trying out a lot of new recipes and making an unnecessary amount of cookies.

Débora – Community Lunches

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? There are many ways to change the world. Volunteering is one of them. The big changes start from where we are: our microcosms, which means, our community. I’ve been learning a lot since I joined the Gordon House team, my first experience as a volunteer: friendship, solidarity, humility, empathy, and resilience. Every shift at Gordon House I feel I have earned much more than I gave.

What is your favourite West End memory? For me, the most representative sight in West End is its oasis called Stanley Park. I’m really passionate about getting lost into its trails and connecting to nature. It’s an opportunity to hear my inner voice. But what makes West End truly special, and what I consider to be its strengths, is its people. People from different countries, cultures, backgrounds, religions, and beliefs, for those whose mutual respect is an unnegotiable value, make this community a place where diversity is celebrated.

What is your go to quarantine activity? In this tough time of the pandemic, I’ve been cooking much more than ever. But, as a baker, I can’t deny that in my house the menu has more bread than anything else. Despite it being hard to find wheat flour at grocery stores, I got a big bag that will allow me baking for the next 30 days. So, I’ve been proofing rustic sourdough bread and brioches as a way to relieve stress and calm down my mind.

Shahram – Farsi Language Club

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?Living in West End, a well established and friendly neighbourhood, I appreciate the connection with the community, sharing and learning from each other in our spare time; volunteering at the GNH with its welcoming staff and atmosphere made this possible.

What is your favourite West End memory? There are many favourite memories; what I truly enjoy, is the natural beauty of nearby park and beach, as well as the vibrant, diverse community.

What is your go to quarantine activity? Adapting, adjusting and integrating my skills and experiences at this uncertain time. I have found time to catch up on everything I wanted to do but didn’t take time for earlier. Lots of good activities, making me feel alive and useful, especially at this time when we can’t be as social as our personality allows.

Bonnie – Attic Thrift Store

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? I enjoy being able to help the customers in the thrift store, sharing a joke, talking about what is happening in the neighbourhood. The Attic Thrift Store provides a wonderful space to share with your neighbours.

What is your favourite West End memory? August of 1997 I was staying with a friend who lived on Barkley and Denman it was hot out. I went for walk to find some shade under the tree’s and walked up Nelson St I passed the beautiful Fire Hall on Nichola St. and walked up Nelson to Broughton St.  I walked into the plaza in front of Gordon House. This was my introduction to Gordon House. I had volunteered with Kits House Hall in the early 80’s when I lived in Kits. I went in to discover the Attic Thrift Store. I bought a new to me summer outfit plus a pullover for $2.50 and this is one of my favourite memories of the West End.

What is your go to quarantine activity? Enjoying the spring flowering trees. checking out new recipes to cook. Giving my place a good spring cleaning 🌻☀

Geetanjali – Young Ideas

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? I am a new Immigrant to Canada, who has luckily stumbled upon the fantastic opportunity of meeting the enthusiastic members of the Young Ideas association. Through this lovely group I have got associated with the Gordon Neighbourhood House community and have been volunteering. Since I’m new to the country, it has been a great experience to have met people in the community and help organise events to bring the community together. I am very social by temperament and volunteering at Gordon Neighborhood House has given me the much-needed connection with the people of my new home.

What is your favourite West End memory? My most favourite memory of the West End has been to organize a small Holi event at the Jim Deva Plaza with the Young Ideas members. It was a great event that saw good participation. We had a lot of fun with colors, distributed Indian sweets and made new friends.

What is your go to quarantine activity? My go-to quarantine activity has been painting and teaching art classes online on zoom. The beach has been my solace. I love the company of the sea and the beautiful setting sun on the Sunset Beach and read and do my yoga practice there (all alone) every day.

David – Cozy Corners

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?   I enjoy being a volunteer at GNH because it enables me to give back to the community, meet our neighbours, and be part of something that has been established in the West End for many years. Plus, of course, the great staff who always make everybody feel welcome.

What is your favourite West End memory? I have to say I look forward to the fireworks every year. Sadly, this year it is unlikely to happen.

What is your go to quarantine activity? Currently I am taking an online course in Adobe Photoshop, something I have been wanting to do for a long time.

Devra – Community Lunches

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?The people at Gordon Neighbourhood House are so welcoming, warm and friendly. I enjoyed every minute of my volunteer experience and miss my Mondays and my new friends.  I also learned new recipes and prep and cooking tips from Joey which I use frequently.

What is your favourite West End memory? My favourite memory was simply everyone I met during this volunteer experience from Jessy at the front desk, to Joey and Aileen, as well as all the volunteers.  Such a wonderful group.

What is your go to quarantine activity? My go to quarantine activity is quilting.

Vlad – Gardening, Community Lunches, Front Desk

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?To help people and be with people (maybe I’m a social “animal”?)

What is your favourite West End memory? To receive the award:” Vancouver Lifetime Senior Volunteer of the Year”. Another great memory, on one Thursday Chef Peter was away and I cooked lunch for 30 people – first time in my life I did it and all guests survived!

What is your go to quarantine activity? After I get up (around 10:00 A.M. -where to rush to?) I do exercises that before took 15 min but now it takes me about 1.5 hour. Shower, breakfast and go (keeping the distance) for a walk (1 hour) – Vitamin “D”. Then back home to check and answer emails and, if I am lucky, watch movies on the computer.

 

Deirdre & Frank – Front Desk, Community Lunches, Food Hub

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?Both Frank and I like the friendly, inclusive atmosphere of Gordon Neighbourhood House and the special role it plays in the West End community. We are also proud supporters of its strong relationship with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and appreciate the welcoming space it provides for Food Bank clients and volunteers each Friday. As Gordon House volunteers, Frank enjoys the camaraderie of Joey’s kitchen crew while I like meeting the great group of people who show up for lunch on Meatless Mondays, and working at the front desk with Jessy.

What is your favourite West End memory? When Frank and I think about the West End, the images that come to mind are tree-lined streets, glimpses of St. Paul’s Hospital, Barclay Manor with its lovely flower garden, Guardian Angels Church, the buzz of Denman Street, and of course Gordon House itself with all its charm and history.

What is your go to quarantine activity? When it comes to coping with the current stay-at-home order, we are both making the best of the situation whilst we wait for life to return to normal (whatever that may be!). I am back to making my vegetable curries, currant scones, and Irish soda bread while Frank continues to amaze with new additions to his brilliant repertoire of gourmet dishes. Both of us do battle with the New York Times crossword puzzle each day and communicate with family and friends via Skype, phone, email, and texts.  As for physical activity, I’d say we have never been fitter!  There isn’t one inch of the Stanley Park trail system that we have not explored and we have walked the Sea Wall so many times that we could probably do it blindfold. Meanwhile, Frank is growing hair he never knew he had and I am turning back into a Child of the Sixties – although much older… and greyer!

Hollis (no picture) – Attic Thrift Store

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House?You get a lot of experience, meet interesting people who are friendly open and honest, and there is a lot of hard work to enjoy.

What is your favourite West End memory? People are so friendly in this end of town and always say hello, even with masks on people nod their head to you or wave to you when you pass them on the street to let you know they say hi.

What is your go to quarantine activity? Write in my journals, do crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, do chores to keep the place clean, keep in touch with friends and see how they are doing.

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Lee – Gardening

What is special about volunteering at Gordon Neighbourhood House? I was attracted to Gordon Neighbourhood House because of its commitment to nourish and build community through food. Volunteering in the Urban Farming Program has been a wonderful way to put that into practice. I appreciate how Joey creates a warm and welcoming environment and values everyone’s contribution. It’s great to connect with others in this shared purpose while having fun and learning from one another. Together we are feeding the community in more ways than one.

What is your favourite West End memory? Every day of the 20+ years I’ve lived in the West End is my favourite memory. I am surrounded by vibrant diversity and extraordinary beauty…each day (even the tough ones) creates its own memory of gratitude that I am a part of it.

What is your go to quarantine activity? I go to bed each night with big plans to accomplish much on my “at-home to-do list” the next day, but find myself struggling to motivate myself in the morning. I’ve found it best to set small goals of productivity for myself each day and be satisfied with those little accomplishments. One of my new rituals is to choose a different type of seed to plant each day that I will later transplant to my balcony garden or share with others, including the GNH urban farms…each of those seeds represents hope plus gives me someone to talk to…lol.