Volunteer Stories

We are proud of the volunteers that take their time to support the Roundhouse and help build our community. We hope their stories will inspire you as much as they inspire us!


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Edith Cheung

“It’s a fun and rewarding experience that allows you to meet other people in your community.”

Why did you become a Roundhouse Volunteer?
I decided to volunteer for the Roundhouse because of my interest in supporting the arts. There is a diverse culture in Vancouver and that is highlighted in the programming at the Roundhouse.
How much time do you devote to volunteering?
Approximately 10 hours a month.
What has surprised you most about your volunteer experience?
There is a wide age range of people volunteering from varying backgrounds.
What new skills have you learned through your volunteer experience?
I learned to improve on my interpersonal skills while working at events with many groups of people. Sometimes the day changes as you work with new groups of people, or elements of the program change and you learn to adapt.
How has volunteering helped to shape your career/future goals?
Volunteering is getting involved with building community and that is my goal.
What would you tell others about becoming a volunteer?
It’s a fun and rewarding experience that allows you to meet other people in your community. Choose something you are passionate about and try it out.
Do you have a hero?
Yes, Wonder Woman. She is my hero because she is smart and strong with super-speed and super-agility. It is great to see a woman that can hold her own while bringing peace to the world.

monique_dion
Monique Dion

Monique came to volunteer at the Roundhouse on a school co-op placement as part of her grade 11 schooling. She had just moved to the Yaletown area, so she chose the Roundhouse to learn more about her new community.

When Monique first started with us, she did not know a lot about the arts. However, by the end of her three week placement, she had a whole new outlook. She realized that there are many people who are passionate about the arts and how the arts can bring people and communities together.

Monique was so inspired by her experience that she continues to volunteer even though her placement is over. If someone were to ask her about volunteering, her advice would be, “Do it! We spend so much time on ourselves, and a few hours out of a day helping others doesn’t take much out of your own day, but makes a big difference to others.” Monique has now joined the Roundhouse as one of our regular volunteers and we are delighted to have her on our team!

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Al Lang

Al is someone you call a true Vancouverite. He was born in South Vancouver, at home, in 1929 and went to high school at John Oliver.

He spent 34 years teaching for the New Westminster School Board and really enjoys his retirement here in Vancouver and at the Roundhouse. He loves Vancouver and all the exciting things it offers.

Al is extremely active in his life doing such things as bowling, seeing the world on cruises and table tennis. Al has been playing table tennis at the Roundhouse for over 8 years and he tirelessly volunteers every Wednesday and Friday morning from 9-12 setting up and taking down tables; taking attendance and assisting the participants with their table tennis skills. We could not run the program so successfully with out him. Al enjoys the fact that there are players from all over the world that come to the Roundhouse to play this highly skilled sport.

In August 2012, Al is planning to participate as a table tennis athlete in the BC Seniors Games – Your 55+ Games, in Burnaby. In the past, he has won many medals competing with this sport. If you want more information about the games contact www.bcseniorsgames.org

We as a staff, really appreciate all the efforts Al puts into his volunteering. He loves the Roundhouse, has met many friends here and is always a welcome and cheery sight in the mornings.

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Barb Pesner

“…I actually feel I’m receiving more from volunteering than I am giving!”

Why did you become a Roundhouse Volunteer?
A friend, already a member, encouraged me. At the time I was also volunteering for the Alzheimer’s Society and I felt joining the Roundhouse would be a nice balance.
How much time do you devote to volunteering?
Lately, I have been involved in administrative work with Michelle and also with the programming group, as well as volunteering at various Roundhouse activities. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve volunteered 60 hours.
What has surprised you most about your volunteer experience?
A couple of things: first, that I actually feel I’m receiving more from volunteering than I am giving! At times I feel it’s a real privilege to be part of the volunteer group. The first time I volunteered was at a Solstice event. I was assisting in the gym where there was a labyrinth designed by paper bags containing candles. When I walked into the darkened room, I was overwhelmed by the glory of the lights and the path they lit and the opportunity to walk the labyrinth by myself. It was a very heartfelt experience.
What would you tell others about becoming a volunteer?
Volunteering is an opportunity to be part of a community of creative and enthusiastic staff who are dedicated to offering programs that bring people together. Roundhouse programs are all very popular. You will never be bored! I can’t leave out the benefits of volunteering – snack card, free membership and discounts to Roundhouse programs, as well as an evening of appreciation that includes catering and entertainment. Volunteers are very much appreciated and this appreciation is gratefully expressed.
Do you have a hero?
My hero is actually a cousin of mine who will be turning 97 in September 2012. At 95 she bought her first computer as she is losing her hearing and having difficulty with phone conversations. I was honoured to teach her how to use email, Skype and the internet and awestruck at her ability to learn so quickly. She is a loving and compassionate human being, not without her physical limitations, but she never lets them get in her way. Even though she is 30 + years my senior, I consider her to be one of my closest friends. When we get together, we laugh; we share stories; and often have very personal conversations. Her motto: “I don’t sweat the small stuff….and it’s all small stuff” attests to her positive outlook on life and enriching attitude. It’s no wonder why many people are drawn to her, and why she connects so easily with people of all ages. I am blessed to have such an inspirational person in my life.

alina_rakhmanova
Alina Rakhmanova

Four years ago, Alina Rakhmanova moved to Vancouver from her home country, Turkmenistan; almost immediately, she discovered the Roundhouse.

Living nearby, Alina found that volunteering gave her a great opportunity to meet new people and get to know her community. Participating in our various events and helping others has given her a great deal of satisfaction.

Alina is studying International Studies at Simon Fraser University, taking on more leadership roles both in school and volunteering. Though it started off being for fun, volunteering also gives her an advantage when looking at master’s programs that require community involvement. Volunteering has taught her how to work in groups, as well as developing her communication and leadership skills.

Alina always finds time for volunteering, no matter how busy school and life keeps her. Knowing smallest actions can lead to big change keeps her motivated! Her advice to those thinking about volunteering? “Don’t think about it, just do it.”

john_westaway
John Westaway

“…just a little bit of a commitment is all that is required to make a difference.”

Why did you become a Roundhouse Volunteer?
To try something new, to give back to my community, to meet people and have some fun.
How much time do you devote to volunteering?
About 10 hours per month.
What has surprised you most about your volunteer experience?
I am amazed at the sheer number and the variety of activities there are at Roundhouse.
What new skills have you learned through your volunteer experience?
Ushering, setting up events and engaging the public with the Papergirl project.
How has volunteering helped to shape your career/future goals?
As far as future goals, it has steered me towards art and performances of different kinds.
What would you tell others about becoming a volunteer?
There are many benefits to volunteering: meeting nice people and having fun while learning new things. Meeting other volunteers is uplifting as they set a good example. Also, I think that people who are considering volunteering should realize that just a little bit of a commitment is all that is required to make a difference.
Do you have a hero?
Yeah. I like Fyodor Dostoevsky, a Russian novelist. He has penetrating insight into the human condition and he is a good story teller.