July 7, 2020

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Opinion

Hospital volunteers find joy in helping kids

Guild volunteers support work of Children's Hospital

JEN DOERKSEN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS</p><p>Anna Sikora (left) and Pat Charad volunteer with the Childrens Hospital Guild. Sikora volunteers in the second-hand shop at 961 Portage Avenue.</p>

JEN DOERKSEN / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS

Anna Sikora (left) and Pat Charad volunteer with the Childrens Hospital Guild. Sikora volunteers in the second-hand shop at 961 Portage Avenue.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 16/10/2017 (995 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Anna Sikora’s reason for volunteering is simple: "Because I can."

"I am privileged to be able to do things to help others," Sikora says. "Life is good, and we do what we can, when we can."

Since 1992, the 61-year-old has volunteered with the Children’s Hospital Guild of Manitoba, which is committed to improving the health care received by children. It supports the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Manitoba through various fundraisers.

Sikora is one of the people whom the guild will recognize this Saturday at its annual tea, which celebrates those who have served for 25 and 50 years.

The guild has offered Sikora many opportunities to volunteer throughout the past 25 years.

She has volunteered at the Bear Essentials Fashion Show and Dinner, and she has worked shifts at the guild’s gift shop and thrift store.

Sikora has helped with the book market, volunteered at the annual Teddy Bears’ Picnic, assisted with the Sew4Kids group and served as part of the guild’s executive board.

"The people I volunteer with are very special and the best part," says Sikora, a self-employed interior designer who joined the guild after hearing about it from one of the mothers at her children’s elementary school. "Knowing that the work we do together helps the children and their families at the children’s hospital makes me feel good."

Pat Charad agrees.

"It’s all about the kids," says Charad, 90, who joined the guild 55 years ago when she was working at Great-West Lifeco. "We can help in so many ways by raising the money that’s necessary."

For Charad, a standout memory of her time with the guild is when it used to organize the Teddy Awards, a ceremony and fundraiser that honoured medical personnel from the hospital. "I thought that was pretty special," she says.

Sikora says it’s the everyday things the guild does that are meaningful and heartwarming.

"What is so awesome is all the people that contribute to the children’s hospital with regard to their time, energy and resources," she says. "When things need to get done, people come forward to help."

She cites the denim quilts that the guild makes for youth at the hospital as one example.

People donate their clean used jeans, which are collected and distributed to those who cut them into usable squares.

The squares are backed with flannel, sewn together, clipped, washed and distributed to young people between 10 and 17.

"Each step of the way are valuable volunteers doing their thing to complete the blankets," Sikora says.

Charad describes joining the guild as the best thing that has ever happened to her.

"I got to really love the children’s hospital, which I had no idea about before," she says.

Sikora has enjoyed being involved too, and can hardly believe she has been with the guild for so many years.

"Twenty-five years go by very quickly," she says. "It’s given me so much variety, and it’s always been so much fun."

 

If you know a special volunteer, please contact aaron.epp@gmail.com.

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