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The Gift of Time

When Amanda Park started volunteering in 2008 she told herself she was going to try it for a year.

“I had just moved back to Halifax and had some free time in the evenings and weekends,” says Amanda. “I wanted to find something I could commit to and that I also really enjoyed.” After doing some online research on the hospital website, she discovered Ronald McDonald House.

Eight years later, Amanda has just surpassed her 1000th hour milestone volunteering at the House.

While most people spend their Sunday night’s preparing for the work or school week ahead, Amanda can be found at the House volunteering on the 5:00-9:00 p.m. shift.

“My friends say I can’t believe you give up your Sunday nights,” says Amanda. “But Sunday’s just work for me. It’s a nice end to the weekend and a great start to the week.”

Amanda works in a fast paced job with an auditing and certification company and travels frequently for work.

“Volunteering at the House is something so completely different from what I do,” says Amanda. “It’s only four hours a week. I can’t think of a more valuable way to spend my free time.”

So what has kept her coming back all of these years?

“It really is the families,” says Amanda. “The best thing ever is to hear a little kid laugh or to hear them running up and down the hall. At a time when things can be really sad and really hard, it’s amazing to see families interacting with each other and getting through things together. I love being a part of something that helps people get through that.”

For Amanda, who’s originally from Woody Point, Newfoundland, it is that sense of community that really stands out to her.

“Being from a small town, I knew the value of an organization like Ronald McDonald House,” says Amanda. “I get as much, or more, as families get out of it and I have learned so much from them.”

Her commitment to keeping families close is unwavering.

“When work or life has changed, I thought maybe this is the point where I take a break from volunteering but I just couldn’t do it. I really couldn’t,” admits Amanda. “There’s so much to keep me coming back; the kids, the families, the other volunteers.”

When asked how long she would like to continue volunteering at Ronald McDonald House, she smiled and replied with one word.

“Forever.”

To learn more about volunteering at Ronald McDonald House Charities Atlantic, click here.