May 19, 2022
Volunteering: The Best Way to Learn Your Community
We had the opportunity to sit down with Jane Rumleskie, a volunteer board member of SCHC and we discuss her journey into SCHC and how this experience has helped her learn more about the community she resides in.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Hello all, my name is Jane Rumleskie and I am in my third year as a Board member with SCHC. I reside in Scarborough with my husband and my pets. I have been a public servant, working with the provincial government for the past 19 years in the field of criminal justice. Though I am working corporately now, most of my career was spent as a Probation and Parole Officer in Toronto. I also volunteer with a local bulldog rescue organization coordinating their social media accounts and as a foster. Though I love city living, I am originally from a very small town in Northern Ontario with a population of 1200 people! I think growing up in a small town has made me appreciate the importance of community which likely drew me to volunteering at SCHC!
What brought you to SCHC? Why did you decide to volunteer?
I had been living in Scarborough for several years after a move from downtown Toronto and wanted to make more connections to my local community. I saw an ad in a local newspaper looking for new SCHC Board members and decided to apply. Early in my career I was employed as a housing worker at another CHC which had opened my eyes to the amazing work that happens at community health centres.
Tell us 2 or 3 things that work really well in your volunteer experience at SCHC?
Joining a Board after not having done so for many years was certainly going to be a learning experience for me. I really appreciated the excellent care taken by the Centre in recruitment, including extensive reference checks, to ensure appropriate candidates are chosen. This told me immediately that SCHC is committed to connecting the right people to the right roles within their organization. Also, the orientation process was very thorough and made me feel very valued in my new volunteer role.
Has volunteering at SCHC impacted your life? If yes, in what way?
Volunteering with SCHC has achieved my goal of learning more about my local community and learning more about healthcare in general. The contributions that SCHC makes to the Scarborough community are vast and necessary. I am proud to attend SCHC events and fundraising activities to meet staff, clients, and fellow volunteers. I especially enjoy the Volunteer Recognition events that I believe are so important! I am lucky to participate on a Board for the past two plus years with dedicated individuals who only want the best for the organization. My fellow Board members teach me many things without even realizing it! This is how I know I am truly privileged to sit on this Board. Recently I received a flyer in my mailbox advertising a local food drive by my neighbours for SCHC! They have no idea that I volunteer with the agency and getting this flyer locally made me very proud and reinforced the importance of having SCHC in Scarborough.
Are there any stories of interactions with clients, staff or other volunteers that really stood out for you that you would like to share with me?
Last year I arranged to have my office participate in the SCHC Adopt a Family initiative. I organized the collection of gifts for a family of nine for the holiday season. I was really touched by the amount of donations my work colleagues provided for the family. It reminded me of the importance of goodwill and how asking others to help often is greeted with good returns! My husband and I delivered the gifts to the family personally. I was so happy to meet an incredible mother and some of her children who were so delighted and happy to receive the gifts! The mother gave me the best hug and gifted me with a lovely card that expressed her gratitude. The truth is, it was me who was grateful to be able to help add some joy to a family during the holidays. It is programs and initiatives like this that far extend beyond the regular benefits SCHC brings to its community. As a Board member, it is crucial to participate and connect with the community your organization serves in order to experience and understand fully the importance of your role. As a Board member, your role may be more behind-the-scenes and administrative in nature, but there is real value in connecting personally with the organization to better your involvement in Board decisions and discussions. I would encourage you to consider joining a Board – it’s good for your health!