Volunteer mentors make a difference

August 14, 2019
One of our volunteer mentors, Alexandra, explains how she supports new volunteers and families
Two women
Stephanie Nyberg and Alexandra Atayde

Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) Toronto volunteers are known for being compassionate and kind, but they have another special skill. They always know the right thing to do or say to a family member with a seriously ill child. It's a talent they usually learn from each other.

The RMHC Toronto Family Rooms at Credit Valley Hospital (CVH) have a volunteer mentorship program, where new volunteers shadow a mentor for two shifts to learn the tasks and skills they need. The mentors also provide any support and guidance the new volunteers may need afterwards.

Alexandra Atayde is one of the five mentors for our Family Room at CVH.

She says being a mentor is a rewarding experience.

“It’s so fulfilling when I can answer a new volunteer’s question or walk them through a difficult scenario, like if a mom comes in and starts crying. I know I’m helping them feel confident and prepared to provide the best support for families.”

Stephanie Nyberg, Coordinator of the Family Rooms at CVH, says the mentors also help to build a sense of community.

“The mentors make new volunteers feel comfortable in the role because they have someone to turn to. I also see friendships form between people who work on the same shift together. They all have a strong sense of camaraderie.” 

Volunteers play a meaningful role in RMHC Toronto Family Rooms by doing important tasks like checking in visitors, managing the use of the sleep rooms, and providing support for families who need them.

“All of the volunteers have a special heart,” Stephanie says.

Alexandra says explaining that the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference is one of the most important pieces of advice she’s given.

“Listening to a mom express her emotions, engaging in a friendly conversation, or giving them a snack can be the most meaningful gesture during a stressful time,” Alexandra says.

RMHC Toronto is grateful for our thoughtful and dedicated volunteers like Alexandra, who make our Family Rooms a safe and relaxing place for families with seriously ill children.

Learn more about becoming a volunteer.