National Volunteer Week is an initiative of Volunteer Canada that encourages organizations to recognize the contributions of volunteers towards creating a strong, interconnected, and vibrant community. For National Volunteer Week 2023, we are highlighting some of the amazing work that our staff are doing in their communities. In the 4th instalment of this series, Sheryl Ramseyer, our Branch Manager in Waterloo, shares about her experience with the Pregnancy Centre.
Tell us about a volunteer experience.
I found my experience of volunteering with The Pregnancy Centre to be very rich and rewarding. I witnessed the genuine care and respect that the staff have for the clients of the Centre. I saw the hope and relationship they offered these moms, and it really made an impression on me. I started in 2018 as a mentor mom in their Mom-to-Mom Program. This program provides a community of support, and education, for women who are pregnant or parenting while navigating family violence and mental health challenges, or impacted by poverty or generational trauma. The program consists of different study topics each week, such as parenting, financial literacy, self-care, and food and nutrition. I also really appreciated the training that The Pregnancy Centre provides for us mentor moms. I was connected with a single mom who has four children. We’ve actually built a close relationship and continue to spend time together regularly, even though I am no longer actively involved in the Mom-to-Mom program. A couple of years ago I was invited to serve on the Board of Directors. I am really enjoying serving in this capacity as well.
What compelled you to volunteer?
I felt compelled to volunteer because I really believe in their mission to provide practical resources and emotional support, without judgment, to women who are pregnant and parenting through crisis. That’s what I would want if I were in the shoes of these women.
Describe the feeling volunteering gives you?
I feel immensely honoured to volunteer with The Pregnancy Centre. They do such important work in the community that is truly making a difference in the lives of the families they serve. I feel blessed to be a part of it. In addition to the Mom-to-Mom program, they offer prenatal classes, and an Easy Eats program. Easy Eats is a 4-week program that provides the moms with a weekly food package and cooking tutorial so they can learn how to cook new and healthy meals for their families.
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about volunteering?
I would say find an organization you are passionate about and get involved! Just do it! Life is busy for all of us, and sometimes it can feel challenging to carve out time to serve others, but I’m really glad that I did. I’ve met so many new people that I wouldn’t have otherwise, and each one has enriched my life in some way. I think it’s important to give back if you can.
Do you do any other volunteering in addition to the role we are highlighting in the above questions?
Serving on the Board of Directors with the Pregnancy Centre, and spending time with the mom I continue to mentor outside of the Centre program, is really the main volunteering that I do. I am married with 4 adult children and 3 adorable grandsons, so any hours outside of working full time in the Waterloo branch are spent with them.