Meet Our Volunteers

April 2020 - National Volunteer Week

Meet Marilyn Bender, a retired nurse and case manager with the former Local Health Integrated Network, and our 2019 Volunteer of Year, brought her many skills and became a Support Group Facilitator for the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County in January 2006. Marilyn has supported, guided, informed and encouraged care partners of individuals living with dementia. She has also been a mentor to other volunteer facilitators who worked with her in Support Groups, Good Day Cafes, and Minds in Motion®. Marilyn has shared her knowledge and skills as a guest speaker and at health fairs.   Congratulations, Marilyn, and a heartfelt THANK YOU.   

An image of Marilyn Bender

September 2019

Meet Krystine Belland, one of our amazing volunteers! One of the many ways Krys supports the work of the Alzheimer Society of Simcoe County is with our annual Tag Day campaign. She has been calling volunteers and scheduling them for Tag Days for the last four years. She works with children all day and finds it very interesting and rewarding to talk with people on the phone to ask for help. When asked what skills are required to fulfill this task for the Society, Krys says that you need to be a multi-tasker and you must be persistent. She doesn’t give up if someone doesn’t return her call. Krys has gained a lot more compassion for people through scheduling. “We all have challenges in our lives”, she says. The best part of her day is when someone thanks her for her call – and for listening.

Thank You Krys!

An image of a smiling Krystine Belland

October 2019

Three cheers for Anna Maria Donato!

Anna Maria has been volunteering in our Minds in Motion® program in Alliston for one and a half years.

She finds the interaction with the clients very rewarding and is sad if she must miss a week. “The clients return again and again and we develop a relationship,” she says. “I learn from them, I have a greater understanding of what a caregiver’s role is like, and I get a glimpse into the challenges of a person living with dementia. I have learned to be empathetic, compassionate and more supportive. I was anxious at the beginning because I didn’t know what to expect. Then, I found that the caregivers and the persons living with dementia were also anxious. I have learned to have an open heart and an open mind, and not be so anxious.”

An image of a smiling Anna Maria Donato

November 2019

Meet volunteer Karen Andrews, one of the Co-Facilitators for the Barrie Coffee Social since 2016! The Coffee Social is a monthly get-together for persons living with dementia and their care partners to meet in a relaxed social setting in the community. Each month, Karen enjoys talking with participants and learning about their lives, careers, and contributions to society. "It is amazing what I have learned from them!" says Karen. "I have gained a new respect for their abilities:past and present. The Coffee Social is good for the person living with dementia and for their care partner. It is a time when the care partner can relax, and... take a breath. It is good to be a part of this group."

Thank you for sharing your time and compassion, Karen, so that persons living with dementia and their care partners can live well and thrive in the community!


January 2020

Barbara Perry has volunteered for the Alzheimer Society for 19 years! She has participated in many activities such as phoning and scheduling gift wrappers and Tag Day volunteers, in addition to gift wrapping and tagging. 

Barb’s attention to detail and her efficiency have proved very helpful in completing office tasks in record time. She loves to collate information packages. There is a rhythm and orderliness of the process that appeals to Barb. She feels that the most important qualities that a volunteer can have are dependability, consistency, cooperation, a willingness to learn, flexibility and compassion. That is quite a list!

Barb enjoys giving back to society and providing a listening ear to those who have stories about living with dementia. Barb feels that she has found a good ‘fit’ between her interests, skills and abilities and a place where she can make a difference in her community.


Last Updated: 04/20/2020