Skip to content
Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities Home

Randall Urcuyo

May 19, 2022

As a teenager, I hung out with the wrong people, in the wrong places, doing all the wrong things. I got into drugs, I sold drugs, robbed people and got into a lot of fights. We were delusional kids, thinking we were men, hoping to be famous in all the wrong ways.

When a friend in high school committed suicide, I didn’t even go to the funeral. I didn’t want to believe it was true. Over time, I realized I didn’t care about anybody or anything.

I ended up in jail a couple of times. Nothing serious, but when you’re in there, on your own, you end up reflecting on your mistakes and the wrongs you’ve done. And when I got out of that box, I realized I never wanted to go back in there. I had to choose a different path.

I came to SCHC because I wanted to be a friendly-visiting volunteer. My sister and I used to take care of our grandma, who has dementia, after school every day. I know how hard it can be for them, on their own, slowly dying, with no company. I wanted to be there for them, share myself with them and bring a different energy to their lives.

Unfortunately, because of my criminal record, SCHC wouldn’t let me volunteer as a friendly visitor, on my own in someone’s home. Instead, I became a volunteer at the HUB reception, helping people find the programs they need.

After a few months, I guess they got to know me and they looked past my criminal history to the person I am. They gave me a chance to be myself and share myself with the community. Now I volunteer with the MOW program, the Adult Day Centre as well the Hospice Day Program.

I don’t have a personal relationship with my old friends anymore. But honestly, if I could, I would help them get off the wrong path, give them a chance the way SCHC took a chance on me.

As a volunteer, I realized just how much you get to experience. When I volunteer, there’s no catch, there’s no money involved. It’s just me, doing what I do for a client, because I want to.

If a client needs to talk, I’m there to listen. They open up to me, make themselves vulnerable and I get to be the person that helps them, opens a door for them and see them through.