Donna Wuksinic finds joy in helping Manitoulin Island’s aging residents

Donna Wuksinic

LITTLE CURRENT—Donna Wuksinic retired to Manitoulin with her husband Doug after a career as a teacher in Sudbury.

“I joined the (Manitoulin Centennial) Manor Auxiliary 10 years ago,” she said. “I wanted to do something to help in the community—to give back.”

Five years ago Ms. Wuksinic became the president of the auxiliary.

“We have a lot of different roles at the Manor,” explained Ms. Wuksinic. “Our goal is to help the residents in any way we can—wherever we are needed. We do fundraising to help purchase items the home may need. We also help with events—bringing the residents from their rooms or helping with outings. As well, we help with serving dinner at Christmas.”

On Mondays Ms. Wuksinic and a team of volunteers run an arts and crafts activity at the Manor. “We make greeting cards with them, stain glass and paintings, both acrylic and watercolour.”

Wednesday the group holds a happy hour and Ms. Wuksinic serves drinks and snacks and the volunteers and residents play bocce ball. “It’s a lot of fun,” said Ms. Wuksinic of happy hour.

When there are upcoming holidays, the auxiliary decorates the Manor hallways and common areas.

Ms. Wusksinic stocks the tuck cart, ensuring there are lots of options and products for the residents.

“I buy boxes of chocolate bars,” Ms. Wusksinic said. “Some residents will buy 10 at a time to have on hand for visiting grandchildren.”

In the summer, auxiliary members help with yard work from caring for the flowers, planters and taking care of the gazebo.

“I find volunteering at the Manor very rewarding,” she shared. “All the residents have stories to tell. They become your friends—your second family. The residents will often smile when the volunteers come in. They like having someone to talk with.”

Ms. Wusksinic stressed that she is only one of many volunteers at the Manor, and that together they work to help the residents.

She is also involved at her church, St. Bernard’s. Ms. Wusksinic decorates and takes cares of the altar, helps with organizing dinners and luncheons and is the Minister of the Eucharist. 

“All the volunteering I do is with other community members,” said Ms. Wusksinic. “It is a team effort.”