Meet Sheryl and Stella – YWCA Hamilton’s 2023-2024 Volunteers of the Year!

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YWCA Hamilton is proud to announce the first-ever dual Volunteer of the Year Award recipients, Sheryl Boblin and Stella Lehto! 

Sheryl and Stella both act as co-chairs on the YWCA Hamilton Seniors Advisory Committee of the Seniors Active Living Centre 55+ (SALC), and were instrumental to the reopening of the MacNab Seniors Active Living Centre 55+ earlier this year. 

Sheryl is also a member of the City of Hamilton Seniors Advisory Committee.  Sheryl’s voice on the City of Hamilton Advisory Committee has helped to ensure the voices of our seniors are heard at the City level as well at our centre level. Sheryl is an author and advocate for seniors and supports initiatives that empower older adults to maintain independence to live a healthy and an active life. Sheryl additionally volunteers at the Dr. Bob Kemp Hospice, supporting individuals and families when experiencing end of life.  

Sheryl has volunteered at the Seniors Active Living Centre 55+ for over ten years. Since her retirement from the McMaster School of Nursing, she has been driven by a desire to contribute to her community. Volunteering allows her to use her communication and caring skills to connect with people.  

Volunteering at the Seniors Active Living Centre 55+ also allowed Sheryl to realize her passion for supporting seniors to age well. “I love being able to help them make informed decisions. Finding the fit between them and the programs and supports available at the YWCA SALC allows me to get to know them as individuals. I relish and honour the stories they tell of their lives. There is a reciprocity between supporting them and the personal benefits I receive,” says Sheryl. 

“I have fun when at the YWCA SALC. The people (Staff and other volunteers) are a pleasure to be with. I feel empowered and appreciated. I feel a connection with them that fulfills my social needs. Not a day passes without smiles and laughter. I am honoured to be able to work with such creative and passionate individuals. Their dedication and commitment motivate me.” 

As Chair of the Seniors Advisory Committee, Stella helped to re-establish the committee and move forward with goals and ambitions for helping the Seniors Active Living Centre 55+ grow, along with supporting the various programs of YWCA Hamilton, including the Encore Program, Carole Anne’s Place and Transitional Living Program. Her many responsibilities include chairing the monthly Seniors Advisory Committee meeting, providing direction to members, providing advice about program decisions, event support volunteer, boutique/jewelry organization, boutique/jewelry sales, provides information to new members, provides member support (a listening ear) to current members, works at the reception desk and any other duties as required. 

Stella has been a member and volunteer of the YWCA Active Living Centre for over 10 years.  Stella joined YWCA as aqua fit participant and once introduced to the Active Living Centre she found her niche and has remained dedicated to our centre and members ever since. Whether it be in the Boutique at reception or helping at an event, Stella is a strong part of our centre activities.   

Stella shares, “I love the personal connections when I am able to introduce members to our Centre: these allowed our Centre to become a community all in itself. Volunteering provides me with a sense of purpose and motivation to get out of bed and get moving each day. During the pandemic this all changed, and I did not realize how vital having the Centre to come to was to my health.  Having had our Centre return to in person programs and opportunities has revitalized me and my passion for helping others.” 

Robin Mech, Supervisor, Active Living Centre 55+, MacNab Street Branch, shares, “the strong support and direction that Stella & Sheryl have provided to our Seniors Active Living Centre, and to myself, have been instrumental in our return to in-person programming. Our centre has a vibrancy and sense of community resulting from the fantastic support our volunteers and members provide. It gives me great honour to be here today with the first-ever dual award recipients for the YWCA Volunteer of the Year award. It seems very fitting that our older adults – seniors – are showing our community that firsts can happen at any stage of life!”  

Thank you, Sheryl and Stella, for your dedication, enthusiasm, compassion and care that you show to the seniors community at YWCA Hamilton. Congratulations! 

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