Joe Stokes - April 2021
Started Spring 2017
Joe joined the Board of Directors at WindReach Farm in the Spring of 2017, and although it has been 4 years, he says “it feels like yesterday that I joined the team.” Joe volunteered for the board because he felt his personal and professional experience and community connections could assist the farm. Moreover, Joe wanted to give back to an organization within his community with a servant focus, so an opportunity at WindReach Farm that has such a tremendous impact on people in the Durham Region and beyond felt like a natural fit.
Joe is both an academic and an education administrator, so feels his contribution to the farm has come in the form of both administrative leadership, and insight into the curricular aspects of WindReach Farm’s programming. Joe tries to bring passion to his volunteerism at WindReach, because there are so many participants counting on the Farm to be at it’s best, and if he can help even a little bit, he knows that he will have done his part.
A good friend of Joe’s once said that you don’t have to volunteer, you choose to volunteer, and he thinks that sums up his emotional connection with the farm. He chooses to volunteer at WindReach because it has an amazing impact on some of the most vulnerable people in our community, and you can realize that impact each and every day on the farm. “WindReach has an almost magical quality to it, that permeates through the staff, amazing volunteers, the animals, and of course the farm itself. Once you step onto the farm, feel that magic, and witness the joy in the people whose lives are changed by our programs, you’d want to choose to volunteer here too,” says Joe.
Joe has always done some sort of volunteerism throughout his life, but he knew joining a board would be a huge commitment, and he was right! Joe says the last four years have been lots of hard work, but they have also been very meaningful, specifically when you can see your efforts realized through the smiles of our program participants, and the quality of life enhancement that WindReach gives to everyone who steps foot on the farm. “So I suppose my biggest takeaway is that a little volunteering can go a long, long way, and WindReach is a place where you can give a little bit of time, and have a huge influence on someone else’s quality of life,” says Joe.
Joe has a great memory at WindReach and it’s a simple story, really. It was spring time, the leaves had just filled the trees again, and the farm looked beautiful. Two little goats had been born on the farm named Paprika and Herb, and they were playfully bashing into each other in their pen. Joe was on his way to a board meeting and stopped to watch the goats play. Totally unprompted, one of our program participants walked over to him and said that she loved the goats. That simple statement conveyed to a complete stranger, with all of it’s genuineness and vulnerability, made him realize just how life-changing WindReach can be; a place where someone can feel safe, and truly be themselves.
Joe feels that time is one of the most precious things we have in life, whether it’s spending time with our families and loved ones, or engaging in something that interests you or brightens your day. Sometimes, volunteering can be hard work, and can take up that precious time, but in his experience, no matter how much time you spend volunteering at WindReach, or how hard the task at hand may be, you are always certain to have brightened your own day, and almost certainly somebody else’s.
Thank you, Joe, for all that you do at WindReach Farm.
One person CAN make a difference!