A full bucket
In March, St. Joseph’s had to say ‘goodbye for now’ to the more than 1000 volunteers who work with compassion, vigour and skill to support the organization’s teams. “That was a difficult day, telling all our dedicated volunteers we couldn’t have them report to us for a while, and we didn’t know when they could return. Our volunteers really wanted to help during the pandemic, but couldn’t,” says Tracy.
At the same time, Tracy and her team were redeployed to assist with the front door screening at all St. Joseph’s main sites. Moving from volunteer management to the management of screeners, along with developing guidelines and processes for screening, has been an adjustment. “A colleague would say ‘we are building the plane as we fly it’, which couldn’t be more accurate. Learning how to keep our buildings safe through screening has allowed me to enhance my own skills. I am currently the perimeter screening operations lead and, although challenging, the work has been extremely rewarding. It allows me to do my part to ensure that our patients, staff and residents are safe.”
For Tracy, the changes were not just limited to work. “My immediate family had to alter the way we come together for eight separate celebrations over the last few months. Although it wasn’t our normal way of celebrating, we still had fun connecting through video calls and distancing visits.”
Tracy’s father travels to Florida every winter and had to rush home in March. “He lives in the Niagara Region and other than video calls, we have not been able to visit with him. My mom is in London but didn’t have the technology for us to be able to video chat, so were creative with parking lot visits for Mother’s Day and daily check ins.”
Tracy has worked at St. Joseph’s for only two years and was amazed by the response of the organization when the pandemic hit. “When leadership said ‘all hands-on deck’, I never heard anyone complain or say ‘that’s not my job’. Those around me encouraged me to bring my best self to work each day and collaborate with others. The kindness, support and teamwork of my colleagues during the pandemic reminds me of why I chose St. Joseph’s.”
Prior to the pandemic, Tracy was asked what she enjoyed most about working at the organization. Using a phrase she learned from her niece and nephew, she said ‘it fills my bucket’. “It brings me happiness and purpose. Being around the volunteers who give so freely of their time with the intent to help others fills my bucket each day. Our volunteers are dedicated and selfless individuals who I admire and respect. In the absence of the volunteers, helping others and surrounding myself with like-minded colleagues who are dedicated to serving and helping others continues to fill that bucket.”
Slowly and safely, volunteers are being reintroduced into the organization, and St. Joseph’s is thrilled to welcome them back.