Homes First has seen a lot of changes over the years, but in the Homes First Human Resources department, the one thing that hasn’t changed is Catherine.
Catherine came to Homes First in 2015. She had recently moved into the downtown area from the west end and since retiring in 2012, wanted to give back through volunteering. Now four years later, you can still find her every Wednesday morning helping the HR team with anything and everything.
“I feel like I belong here now. It’s my organization as well.”
Catherine spent her career in healthcare administration, including hospital settings. When she started with Homes First, she had 15 years of volunteer experience under her belt, but didn’t know much about the scale of homelessness across Toronto.
“When I moved from the west end to downtown, I felt like I was surrounded by homelessness. I was quite shocked at how many people I saw living on the streets,” she recalls, thinking back to 2015. “I’m surprised at the numbers. Since I’ve been here, there’s been a constant opening of new shelters.”
While she hasn’t volunteered elsewhere in the homeless or shelter sector, Catherine has learned a lot about homelessness and the length organizations like Homes First go to support those living in shelters or on the streets. For her, that learning experience is the most rewarding part of volunteering.
“[Volunteering] takes you out of your own sphere and gives you an easy opportunity to learn about other issues and other ways of living and other people and how other people deal with things…I always find that I get more than I give.”
Thank you Catherine for sticking by us all these years!