Wood's Homes Blog

Volunteer Spotlight: EXIT Community Outreach

March 04, 2015
By Vanessa Vernick, Wood's Homes Community Engagement Coordinator
Volunteer Spotlight: EXIT Community Outreach

Q:  Tell us about yourself.

A: I’ve been retired for four years now and I spend my free time babysitting my grandson, going to the gym, and doing all the little things to fill a day – and when I retired, I also started quilting. However, in that time I decided I also wanted to volunteer.  

Q: How did you first learn about Wood’s Homes?

A: My husband has a son who went through the program so we had known about it before. My husband is a total believer (in Wood’s Homes) and is completely sold on what (the agency) can do for kids. We started checking it out a bit more and then I put in my name to volunteer.

Q: How long have you been volunteering at Wood’s Homes?

A: I’ve been volunteering at Wood’s Homes for two and a half years.  

Q: What’s kept you here?

A: They introduced me to, and had me working with, Maeve. We hit it off so well and felt the same about things; we have a friendship through that now. I keep in touch with her and it worked between the two of us.  

Q: Can you tell me about the quilt you made for the EXIT Community Outreach Program?

A: Our idea was to get all the clients to help make a quilt; Madelyn had a vision of a quilt that would show what Wood’s Home was all about. So we began talking and discussing what to do, and we eventually had a client come in, a young girl, who drew together a plan for us to follow. We would come in and sew patches every week with whoever was willing to sit down. We would sew easy kinds of things but tried to tie in everything that represented Wood’s, for example the arrows on windows – we tried to go back to the beginning. It was neat to find out more about Wood’s in that way.   

Q: What was the most interesting, or your favourite, patch?

A: With each one, you think of what went on behind the scenes. It’s the discussion and story behind them that makes them special – like who was doing the sewing. (I remember), for example, Maeve made one with a chef’s hat from the cooking program; there’s a story behind it all.  

Q: What has been your favourite memory here so far?

A: My favourite memory has been getting to know all the kids; it’s the personal relationships. It’s about building relationships with them so they have someone else to talk to. I remember, one day someone came in who I hadn’t met and she said, “the place feels different today”, “it feels more ‘home-y’”, and Maeve said, “it’s because Cheryl’s here.” It makes you feel good when you hear things like that. It’s been such a pleasure to get to know the kids and the staff.  Maeve and Adam (Flegel) have been wonderful to work with. Now for Christmas, what we did was we cooked all the potatoes. I can’t stand boxed potatoes so my husband peeled 20 pounds of potatoes and had it all ready for the next morning. It’s fun being able to do something like that for the kids!