Lea Kitchen - August 2021
Lea started volunteering in May of 2015. Luckily for her, she met Volunteer and Operations Manager Kelly curling, and saw the perfect opportunity to get involved through volunteering. She had retired from a very rewarding and much loved teaching career of 34 years, and wanted to have a new experience while doing something purposeful in her community. WindReach Farm was the perfect opportunity!
Lea’s volunteer roles include adventure leader and helping with special events. As an adventure leader, she conducts on site farm tours and is an active member of the Beyond the Farm Gate (BFG) program. The BFG program goes to many different settings in the community to extend the Farm’s reach to those who are unable to attend the Farm on site, or to educate people who have not been introduced to WindReach Farm and all of its initiatives.
Lea helps with many special events, including on site seasonal events and drive thrus, as well as several off site events like the Royal Winter Fair in Toronto, Ontario Tech. University teacher education, and others where she shares her love of WindReach Farm with others in the community. “Lea is a wonderful representative of WindReach Farm and we are lucky to have her as part of our team. She knows a lot about the Farm and is always very bubbly and happy when speaking about WindReach to others,” says Kelly Taylor, Volunteer and Operations Manager.
When asked what she feels she brings to the table, Lea replies “I’d like to think that people would recognize my commitment and enthusiasm for the task at hand. I try to be a team player but can step up and show leadership when called upon. It is certainly my goal to provide a warm, inviting, and compassionate response to all participants in the program so that they leave having had a wonderful WindReach experience.”
She feels that volunteering allows her to meet a variety of people from all walks of life and to work alongside them. It gives Lea purpose and satisfaction in a job well done. She loves to learn new things and have a variety of experiences, and WindReach has provided that in spades.
“In working at or with the farm, I get back more than what I put in. It is a fabulous place to volunteer!” Lea exclaims.
When asked about a memorable experience from WindReach, Lea says there have been lots of memorable stories but this one stands out. On a visit to a Long Term Care (LTC) home and a floor that specialized in care for seniors having early onset of Alzheimer’s or Dementia, WindReach staff and volunteers were placing chickens, rabbits, and/or guinea pigs onto participant’s laps for a wee cuddle and petting session. One lady seemed to have a very special ability to connect with each individual animal, and they noticed that not long after having been placed on her lap, they splayed out totally relaxed and clearly appreciating her affection. Her daughter happened to be there with her mother and when we noted her unbelievable talent in getting an animal to become instantaneously relaxed, she replied that her mother had in her earlier career been a physiotherapist/massage therapist and was putting her talents to work. This lady may have forgotten many other things but certainly her skill and talent for soothing what ailed people or animals in this case, came in good use that day and was just as therapeutic for her as well.
Lea chooses to volunteer her time because she has long been a believer in the notion that if everyone gave of their talents and skills to worthy causes, we would be enriching our communities and our collective experiences. When you volunteer you get back just as much as you give, it gives you a sense of purpose and develops connections with programs and people in your community.
Thank you, Lea, for all that you do at WindReach Farm.
One person CAN make a difference!