Broader Horizons Adult Day Centre has a group of dedicated volunteers, some who have been giving their time for over a decade doing events, fundraising and supporting the centre in unlimited ways.
An Interior Health initiative, it is meant to support individuals to remain within their home and community; offering opportunities to enhance health, nutrition, socialization, independence, and the enjoyment of life, in a supportive and safe environment.
Employee Bonnie Lee Peterson is one of four bus drivers who bring clients to Broader Horizons and she can’t say enough about the volunteers.
“Everything they do, it’s to the hilt. They think of all the fun things. It’s their raison d’être to make that day as fun and as enriching for the clients.”
Recently, one brought a Champion juicer from home to make homemade sorbet for 23 seniors. “They were just running back and forth, and the amount of laughing that goes on…”
Typically there is one volunteer per day and more attend for special occasions and events.
Employees take care of the programming, exercises, setting up card tables and medications but the volunteers “make the special enriching stuff happen,” said Peterson.
“It’s like taking a sponge cake and adding whipped cream and strawberries to turn it into a fabulous gateau.”
“They plan and they plot. They start planning for Christmas in October.”
Volunteers will decorate for any holiday you can think of, including Cinco de Mayo and they’ll plan special events like a Hawaiian luau or a hoe down.
“When there’s a hoe down, there’s hay, dungarees and cowboy hats,” said Peterson “complete with popcorn, chips, root beer floats and a brown bag for the seniors to take home.
“For a Victorian tea party it’s all very proper. They bring out the best china, iron the linen, make strawberry shortcake and pour the tea in the cups.”
There is a collection of English style tea hats and a room full of decorations amassed by the volunteers at garage sales which have been cleaned, sorted and catalogued.
“No detail is too small,” said Peterson. “If they see a little pickle fork at a garage sale, they’ll pick it up, bring it in, run it throughout the dish washer, sanitize it and it goes in the special glass dish to serve pickles at Easter and Christmas dinner. They’ll bring in the little pickles, flowers and desserts (for special dinners and events).”
Most of the volunteers are retired. One lady retired from a very social career which was an element she soon found she missed.
“She’s very social and loves to chat away so it’s a very good marriage.
“The one thing all the volunteers do have in common is they like to do for others. We’d like to deeply honour the people who have volunteered over a decade, one day a week, even over holidays; it’s pretty special.”