My family has a long volunteering history at the House (baking, donating gifts/clothing, general cleaning or task completion), but my first time was around 2012. It started with my mom – she works at ATCO and developed a relationship with RMHCNA to make them ATCO’s charity of choice. My dad is also a volunteer driver for the Shuttle Program. Family values and teachings instilled the importance of volunteering and giving back to our community since I was a young boy and helping RMHCMA when I could was always on my mind.

Since 2012, on and off throughout university, I occasionally baked with my mom’s book club group who comes once a month. In university I joined a fraternity and was in charge of organizing our volunteering. I chose for us to help at the House, and once a week for a couple of months we showed up and did whatever was required. Most of it involved tasks like cleaning and shoveling snow, but it didn’t matter what we did, the boys and I were just happy to help out where we could.

Volunteering has humbled the troubles and issues that I face in my life by making me realize that there are much larger things that could be going wrong that I luckily don’t have to deal with. Even more so, it’s opened my eyes to the power of positivity and love that keeps this House functioning. To see parents, children, and previous strangers, connecting and helping each other through the toughest moments of their days is incredible.

Tyler volunteering in the classroom.

Helping in the classroom has been a wonderful experience for me, and given me many memories with a certain House Hero Lucas. We spent the majority of classroom time downstairs in the play area doing gross-motor activities and play, associating them with numbers, letters, words, and colours. During this time I developed my House nickname Tire since Lucas had a hard time saying his “L’s.”

Another awesome moment was when the Edmonton Oilers visited over Christmas to make cookies and do some crafts with the House Heroes. One Hero in particular went up to Zack Kassian and said “Wanna drop the gloves!!?” and Zack responded “Well you’re not wearing any gloves so I guess you’re one step ahead of me.” Parents and kids loved it, and it was nice to see that no one was worried or thinking about surgeries, sickness, or any negatives going on in their lives that day.