National Volunteer Week, April 24-30
Ben Arppe and Kristi Rajala are Rehabilitation Consultants, based in our Toronto office, who bring our core values of caring and community-minded to life through their work and volunteerism. Ben provides life-changing, mentoring experiences as a Big Brother while Kristi leads a nationally recognized charity that rescues and rehabilitates abandoned and injured animals.
Natasha Dooks is a Provider Coordinator with the MSI Team in our Dartmouth office who helps grant wishes to children with critical illnesses, while Sherri Leger, an HR Business Partner in Moncton, helps feed local school children.
Shaun MacLaughlin, an Advanced Care Paramedic with the EHS Emergency Preparedness & Special Operations team in Nova Scotia, fills his ambulance with toys every December to gift to children in need. His western colleague Angela Sereda, Manager of Mobile Integrated Health at MHS West – Moose Jaw, provides support to people dealing with mental health illness and substance abuse disorders.
National Volunteer Week Tribute
In celebration of National Volunteer Week, April 24-30, we are recognizing our team of 7,200 professionals for bringing health and heart to the communities where they live and work.
Shaun and Angela exemplify Medavie’s proud and strong culture of caring. In 2021, both received their community’s highest honour for outstanding service. Shaun was named Volunteer of the Year by the town of Westville in Nova Scotia, while Angela received the Moose Jaw Citizen of the Year award.
Fire & Rescue
Shaun has been volunteering for so long that it’s almost become second nature for him. Despite his busy work schedule, MacLaughlin has not missed a volunteer shift in the 15 years he’s served as a medical first responder (MFR) with Westville Fire & Rescue, helping organize many community events, from Canada Day celebrations to fundraising BBQs.
“I enjoy being in the emergency services and we’re in an area where there’s no full-time fire departments around here, so the world revolves around volunteers.” – Shaun MacLaughlin
A three-time finalist for the Kubota Community Hero, Angela is leader of the Tru-Unity Girls Leadership Group for girls to adapt to the pandemic and co-creator of her city’s community paramedicine program for people struggling with mental health and addiction issues.
Big Brothers, Big Sisters
Ben will “always cherish the memories” of his time as a kid with his Big Brother Steve. Today, he’s paying that special friendship forward by being a Big Brother himself.
“This wonderful charity works so hard to make sure that every boy and girl looking for a role model and someone to help expand their horizons is given a chance.” – Ben Arppe
For the past four years, Ben has been that role model to little brother David. “I have seen the affect they have had in myself, my little brother and many others who I have volunteered with in the past,” says Ben. “They are an amazing part of any community and deserve our support!”
Good Will Good Karma
Kristi and her children Will and Jada are the driving force behind Good Will Good Karma, a non-profit focused on youth volunteerism and acts of kindness. Since its inception, they have raised $200,000 in supplies and donations for local animal rescues and led multiple rescue missions to remote communities in Manitoba and Ontario.
Kristi describes herself as “MOMager” to her kids who won the city of Missasagua’s COVID Hero Awards for their contributions to animal welfare. They‘ve also been recognized for their generosity on national television. “Every single day we are tending to at least one rescue emergency,” says Kristi. “It is so heart wrenching and yet rewarding in the same breath.”
Kristi was able to use a $500 donation she received through our Time Equals Money program to rescue Mater, a six-week-old pup with a “paw trauma.”
Time Equals Money
Time Equals Money is one of two community giving programs that support the causes that are closest to employees’ hearts with funding from Medavie Blue Cross. When an employee volunteers at least 50 hours in one calendar year, we make a $500 donation to their chosen charity.
“We are long past volunteering at this stage – we can’t count the hours we put in. But we can count the blessings – and that is the greatest reward ever!” – Kristi Rajala
Through a second program, Team Matching, Medavie Blue Cross matches funds raised by up to $3,000 per team when two or more employees participate in a health or wellness-related event. Among the recipients is the Children’s Wish Foundation of Canada.
The non-profit is “very near and dear” to Natasha as when she was younger, it granted the wish of a best friend who later died at the age of 13.
Natasha honours her friend’s memory as team captain of the Medavie WishMakers, which helped raised over $75,000 in the past five years for the Foundation’s Nova Scotia Chapter.
“Wishes are powerful and I want to be a hero to these amazing kids!” – Natasha Dooks
This past March, Natasha was a member of the “puppy train” that helped get “wish puppy” Amber to her “wish child” Jonathan in Cleveland, Nova Scotia. She described it as a truly magical experience that helped solidify why she is so passionate about this organization.
As a member of the Canadian Association of Blue Cross Plans, Medavie also supports the Wish Foundation by providing comprehensive travel insurance coverage to children and their families when a travel wish is granted.
Blessings in a Backpack
When Sherri Leger heard about the charitable work Isthmus does, it brought tears to her eyes. She has been supporting the charity ever since. Isthmus is the only national non-profit to provide food on the weekends for Canadian children who might otherwise go hungry. In Moncton alone, over 600 school-aged children receive food to eat on weekends thanks to volunteers who create bags of food, fondly known as “blessings in a backpack”, and deliver them to the schools.
“While many school-aged children depend on school lunch/breakfast programs, what happens on the weekends? Hunger doesn’t take weekends off.” – Sherri Leger
The unmarked bags are discreetly placed into the child’s backpacks each Friday morning to take home for the weekend. A single donation of only $120 will feed one student on the weekends for one full school year.
Learn more about how the team at Medavie delivers on our mission to improve the wellbeing of Canadians by giving back to the communities we serve and investing for social impact through our employee-led programs, our Health Foundation and our Building Healthy Communities fund.