Joelle Paleologou says volunteering with the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation is good for both her soul and mental health. (Contributed photo)

Joelle Paleologou says volunteering with the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation is good for both her soul and mental health. (Contributed photo)

Our People, Our Peninsula: ‘Start small, stick with it,’ advises Joelle Paleologou

Peace Arch Hospital Foundation volunteer motivated by challenge to learn and grow

Volunteers are the backbone of a community. In the May 19 edition of the Peace Arch News, we published our second annual Our People, Our Peninsula section, in which we profiled 11 individuals whose volunteer efforts help shape White Rock-South Surrey into the strong and vibrant community we call home. Below is the profile of one such volunteer.

Joelle Paleologou is described by the Peace Arch Hospital Foundation board as a dedicated and passionate volunteer who goes above and beyond for the Peace Arch Hospital Gala.

Her creativity, innovation, tireless work, and commitment to both Peace Arch Hospital and the gala itself is unwavering. “She may be a volunteer, but she feels very much like a member of the staff team and our success is absolutely her success.”

Q: How long have you been a volunteer with PAHF and why did you choose to donate your time and efforts to them specifically?

I have been a volunteer with the PAHF since 2013. I was initially introduced to the Foundation through a close friend who, at that time, was the gala chair. I knew, through her involvement, that the Foundation was doing important work for our community by raising funds for a new ER. As a long-standing resident of the Peninsula and someone who has had to make use of our then-antiquated ER more than few times, I felt the tug to find out more.

Q: How has volunteering for PAHF benefited you as a person?

I have met the most wonderful people. They continually inspire me with their commitment, creativity and friendship.

I am motivated by the challenge to learn and grow, so there is always an opportunity to hone my skills and learn new ones each year and I love thrill of being a part of planning this amazing event. It is fun, exciting and creative and most of the time it brings me lots of joy and happiness.

Q: Why is it important to you to volunteer your time?

Volunteering to me, is an act of gratitude to all the healthcare providers at PAH, many of whom have cared for me or my family in less-than-ideal working conditions.

Everyone, at some point in their life needs a hospital, for themselves or a loved one. By chairing the gala each year, I play a part in the enormous effort it takes to raise the necessary funds to finance the ongoing health care needs of our growing community. Finally, it is just good for my soul and my own mental health.

Q: What advice to you have for people who are thinking about becoming a volunteer for the first time?

Just do it. Don’t be intimidated. Everyone has something to offer and there is always someone or something that needs help. Find an organization that speaks to you in some way.

Start small and stick with it. You never know where the journey may take you, but you can be sure you won’t know, if you don’t take the first step.