One Thursday morning last month, Larry Shareski walked in my office quite concerned. As he sat down, he leaned back in the chair and rubbed his chin. Then, he began this conversation:
“I’m quite worried. I just found out there’s no money for the Rec & Leisure Program.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“Paul said Rec & Leisure gets no money from the government?”
“You’re right. The Rec & Leisure Program isn’t funded by the government. It’s funded through ticket sales for The Taste of BC’s Finest and the Golf Tournament, gifts from donors and curriculum fees.”
“I’ve got to do something about that. I know many people in the community and can ask them to make donations. Could I do that?”
“If you feel comfortable with that, you certainly could. In fact, that would be great.”
“What should I say?”
“You could say…”
“Could you write it down for me?”
“How about I prepare a letter and make you copies? You can give the letter to people you know.”
“Yeah! I have to go back to work now, but I’ll be back later for the letters.”
Larry went back to his work and I prepared the letter. He returned the next day and helped me stuff a few envelopes, which he took with him in his fanny pack.
The following Tuesday, Larry was doing his work and spotted me in my office. He pointed in my direction and said with excitement, “I have something for you in my locker downstairs.” He ran down and came back with 2 envelopes. Each contained a donation from people in the community. Larry was very proud of himself. We both cheered at his success and exchanged a few high fives.
What’s more, Larry has chosen not to participate in the Recreation and Leisure Program. His philanthropic act was totally altruistic.
Larry Shareski has gone through our Employment Training and Support Program and now works at Semiahmoo House Society doing janitorial work and catering. Some of us at the Society might say that we support Larry. In fact, if you listen to Larry carefully, you learn that when he enters The Treehouse every morning he’s coming to work just like many of us. He has an important job and he does it with pride and reliability.
When I got home on that Tuesday night, I reflected on the elation that both Larry and I felt earlier. Larry had supported the Recreation and Leisure Program and the Society as whole. He experienced the rewarding feelings you get when you support others. That wasn’t all.
He also had an impact on me at the personal level. He valued me and my position enough to approach me about his concern and lend his support. He made me feel worthy. By doing what he did, Larry gave me some of the best support I’ve ever received from an esteemed colleague.
Thank you, Larry, for supporting everyone at Semiahmoo House Society and The Semiahmoo Foundation.
Louise Tremblay, The Semiahmoo Foundation
Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community.
The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.