Earlier this fall, residents and staff of Chartwell Belcourt Retirement Residence volunteered to show their support for Our Lady of Mount Carmel Elementary School in Ottawa, Ontario, where many refugee children attend and are in need of their community’s support.
The opportunity was inspired by Chartwell’s H.O.P.E. program (Helping Others for Purposeful Engagement), where residents and employees across Canada keep busy by creating opportunities to give back to their local communities by lending a helping hand.
Chartwell Belcourt residents jumped at the chance to help out during the breakfast club at Our Lady of Mount Carmel, where they helped prepare and serve breakfast while getting to know the children, who welcomed the volunteers with open arms.
“The children were so friendly,” said Wendy Lapierre, Chartwell Belcourt’s Lifestyle and Program Manager. “They even started calling some of the residents ‘grandma’ and ‘grandpa,’ and you could see that there was a real connection there.”
After breakfast, volunteers were invited into several classrooms to help students with their daily tasks. Sitting with students from grades one through three, residents offered assistance, friendly conversation and even some tasty treats—care of Chartwell Belcourt’s food service team.
Back at the residence, some who were unable to attend in person still managed to show their support. Residents knitted hats, mittens and socks for children in need, including some who would be experiencing their first Canadian winter ever.
“We have really be been blessed with the opportunity to volunteer our support for the children of Our Lady of Mount Carmel,” says Wendy. “It was such a wonderful intergenerational opportunity, and was the perfect way to spend a Wednesday morning! We hope to do it again soon.”
Chartwell’s H.O.P.E program encourages residents to explore personal interests and goals through meaningful activities, such as learning new skills, participating in hobbies and goal setting. It also helps build opportunities for residents to connect with their community, and promotes a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives. Residents are encouraged to give back and help make a difference by creating lasting community connections. To learn more about our H.O.P.E program, click here.