Since September 2017, Violet D. Clacken, a Windsor Park Place resident, has been volunteering her time to visit with Actionmarguerite residents in St. Boniface.

This is not the first time she has been to the residence. “I worked in healthcare until I retired,” she says. “Years ago, I would come meet patients individually in this facility. I’ve always liked helping senior citizens.”

She now comes to help residents at Mass time. “I come every Tuesday and am always anxious to hear the service. I arrive at 9:30 a.m. The other volunteers and I help bring the residents down from their rooms to the chapel. During the service we sing in the choir. Once Mass is over we return the residents to their rooms or bring them to the dining room. Sometimes we eat with them.”

Though she doesn’t speak French, Violet enjoys being in a francophone environment. “At the service, everyone speaks French, so I pretend to speak French, too. My complete lack of knowledge of the language amuses the residents. When they speak to me, I smile at them and someone interprets for me. They’re always happy to see us. They give us hugs and it makes us feel good. And when I leave, I say to them, ‘Oui, oui, see you next week!’”

Violet, who turns 71 in September, likes to keep busy now that she has retired. “I’m an extrovert and I like to go out. Tanja Parisien, who supervises the Windsor Park Place residence, talked to me about volunteering. It’s an opportunity to get involved in a lot of activities. We went dancing not long ago. I was able to get dressed up and dance as if I were back in Jamaica, my home country!”

In the past, Violet was very involved in the arts. “I would do plays, and an opportunity presented itself to travel to Ottawa to sing. I was a member of the Afro-Caribbean Association of Manitoba.”

“They still contact me when they’re holding events. I’m too busy to be bored! I keep busy because it’s something I’ve always done. Having things to do makes my life much better.”

And Clacken has no intention of stopping any time soon. “I used to volunteer with the Association, and now I volunteer at the residence. I’m always eager to experience new things through volunteer work or activities at the residence. I try to help out as much as I can.”