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My Volunteer Story - Danila
A heartfelt experience

Meet Danila Maric. She has lived in Caledon for 25 years and has spent most of that time giving back to her community. This is her story.
Danila's two sons were in elementary school when she started volunteering. She spent her time at the school every day helping in a number of ways. She assisted in the school literacy program, was a lunch monitor, on parent council helping at the walkathons and dance-a-thons and going on school trips. She made friends with the school teachers and from her perspective, it was a win-win since she learnt so much and felt good about giving back. It made her happy knowing that she made a difference in some way. Later, after her kids graduated from high school, she moved onto other community causes. 
One of Danila's friends went through a rough time and benefited from the services provided by Caledon Community Services. In appreciation she volunteered there and asked Danila if she would like to join her. They were both friends whose kids were in the same elementary school. That was the start of Danila's 15 years of voluntary service there during which time she took on many roles. She joined the fundraising committee which organised an annual fundraising gala - a catered event with a silent auction and stepped into the Co-Chair position to organize the final CCS gala. She also gave her time to the Santa Fund each year around the Holidays, which helps people in need by giving them access to food, gifts and toys for the children. Towards the latter part of her time at CCS, she joined the Board of Directors and enjoyed being involved at the strategic decision-making level of the organizations, while still continuing to be on the Gala and Santa fund committees.  
At present, she is on the Board of Directors of Bethel Hospice Foundation (BHF) because a friend referred her to the need that existed at this organisation. Bethel Hospice is a residential hospice, that is, a house with 10 beds providing 24 hr care to those who are in the last stages of their lives.  It feels warm and comfortable there. Just like a home, it provides a loving environment and is not sterile or clinical.  All the rooms are private rooms with patio doors overlooking the gardens and the house is pet friendly. Those who have benefited from the care provided there – families and patients, have nothing but wonderful things to say about how well they were treated. The Bethel Hospice Foundation is a fundraising board which needs to raise $1,000,000 - 40%. Danila is one of the board members, whose efforts contribute to accomplishing this annual goal. She loves helping out at most of their fundraising events because she believes in the cause.
Danila works at Scotia Bank which has a community program that matches funds if an employee volunteers his/her time at a charity event. Through this initiative, Danila has been able to provide further monetary support to Bethel Hospice and to countless other non-profit organizations throughout Caledon and Peel region, including Volunteer MBC who really values the skillsets and fundraising expertise Danila has brought to their Events Committee. Over the past 25 years, Danila has literally been responsible for raising thousands of dollars for worthy causes and has helped to advance their respective missions in the process.
When asked what makes her give her time, Danila replied that she really enjoys helping others and it makes her feel good when she can help secure contributions towards charitable organizations that really need the fundraising support.  She wants to continue to help the community and try to make a difference in the lives of those less fortunate. She has always enjoyed volunteering; first with her kids and later it became something she really wanted to be involved in.
When asked what she gets out of volunteering, she indicated that the benefits of volunteering to her personally have been many. She has met so many wonderful people through her volunteering and has enjoyed long-lasting friendships as a result; she has also been able to further hone her fund development skills and it keeps her connected to and more knowledgeable about her community. She also feels stronger mentally, making it easier and allowing her to be better prepared to manage personal challenges such as aging parents.
Some people ask her why she volunteers so much. Her response, "We all have time. You decide if you want to make the time.” Her advice to others is this: "Just try it!  Whether it is a cause near or dear to your heart or a friend is asking you to help. Try it out and see how you feel. Pick one thing that really speaks to you. That way you will feel more passionate about the cause." She has always volunteered because it is truly in her heart.

Written by MarComm T
Written by MarComm Team