Senior residents from Montgomery Place recognized a number of their peers, community organizations and frontline staff for their contributions to the community at the Seniors' Volunteer Awards Dinner.
Resident Channah Yonas accepts her award with Social Club President Thomas Dunsford and Interim Director of Resident Community Engagement Simone Atungo.
Organized by the Montgomery Place Social Club, with support from Toronto Community Housing, this resident-led event held on September 21st, celebrated the volunteer work of 17 senior residents. Montgomery Place residents were joined by representatives from TCHC Resident and Community Services and by local Member of Provincial Parliament, Mike Colle. Also recognized with awards were SPRINT Senior Care, a community organization that provides care and activities that enhance the quality of life for seniors, as well as building superintendent Amin Parpia and cleaner Maira Pezzutti.
Pezzutti, who has worked with Toronto Community Housing for over seven years, thanked residents for the honour. "I love helping this community. They are truly special people," she said.
Residents volunteer their time to a number of initiatives, both within Montgomery Place and the surrounding community, including the beautification of the community garden, support of bingo and rummage sale activities, and distribution of the resident newsletter.
Simone Atungo, Interim Director of Resident and Community Engagement, explained what makes the event so special. "This event truly recognizes all the ways seniors give back to their communities; residents are recognizing and appreciating each other and the many ways they enrich their communities on a day-to-day basis," she said.
Debbie Bernstein, a representative from SPRINT Senior Care, shows off their award.
"I feel fortunate to help residents in this building. It is nice to be part of a community that makes a difference and recognizes people that help them do that," said Debbie Bernstein, a representative of SPRINT Senior Care.
When asked about why they volunteer in their community, residents had a number of different reasons.
"I enjoy working with people; even tonight I am helping to keep my fellow award recipients from getting too nervous on stage," it's what keeps me young at 90 years old, supporting my peers," joked award recipient Eva Slankamenac.
Resident Channah Yonas, who also received one of the awards, said, "I was able to be a volunteer at Princess Margaret Hospital. I worked in inpatient care with people who were very sick."
Resident and award winner Mary Marshall said, "it's a pleasure to work in the garden because every day you can truly see that people enjoy the space. You can see that you are making a difference."
Community Services Coordinator Audette James works with seniors every day. "Often times, seniors are assumed to be vulnerable and require a lot of support, but sometimes we forget that they also want to give back," she said. "They have so much to share: their strength, their wisdom and their experience. They often want to get involved, they just don't always know how."
By creating opportunities where residents, staff and the broader community can work together, Toronto Community Housing is helping to build vibrant communities where people can thrive.
"Working with community partners, like SPRINT Seniors Care, we can bring seniors out into the community, which not only improves their quality of life, but also gives the broader community something to aspire to, because they can see the potential for great quality of life, at any age," said Atungo.
Toronto Community Housing provides homes to some of the most engaged seniors in Toronto, for whom this housing is integral to their dignity, health and quality of life.
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