Twenty years ago, Inna Dantchenko, a primary school teacher in Ukraine, packed her belongings and travelled 8,000 km to start a new life in Toronto. As she began to carve out her new life, Inna continued to follow her passion for caring for others as a Personal Support Worker (PSW) for Circle of Care.
“I feel so fortune that I landed at Circle of Care,” says Inna. “It was through my PSW role that I discovered how much I enjoy working with older adults.” As a result, Inna pursued a diploma in gerontology at Humber College.
Today, as Supervisor of Circle of Care’s Kosher Meals on Wheels program, Inna oversees the delivery of more than 200,000 meals by more than 200 volunteers each year.
Each day, Inna finds inspiration from the diversity of the clients that Circle of Care serves, especially those who are Holocaust survivors. “It’s often difficult to hear clients’ stories of inconceivable wartime suffering, but I find it rewarding to know that I’m making their later years somewhat easier by ensuring that their meals are supplied to them on a regular basis,” says Inna.
Of course, none of this would be possible without the dedication of the volunteers who show up despite snowstorms and heat warnings, to ensure the meals are delivered and to check in on their clients’ wellbeing. “It’s so inspiring to watch them in action. We wouldn’t be able to run the program without them.”
Now, two decades after taking a leap of faith that brought her so far from home, Inna says working with older adults is not only a career but a true labour of love. “I love helping our older adult population remain in their homes as long as possible, by making sure they are safe and secure and receiving nutritional meals. It’s something that I am really passionate about,” she says.
Circle of Care is always looking for new volunteers for the Kosher Meals on Wheels program. Anyone interested is asked to contact Volunteer Resources at 416-635-2900 ext.375 or [email protected]