It was a calm October morning, the sun had not peeked through just yet. In fact, Tim Hortons had not even opened, so it must have been very early. But, as we made our way down the stairs into the Square One Older Adult Centre there was an audible buzz in the air, and much in motion. The foyer was lined with volunteers in apple green shirts, each one anxiously awaiting the arrival of “the walkers”. It was the annual Walk-a-Thon, and with over 80 participants anticipated, the registration desk was ready to accept the walkers and their all-important pledges. This day was an important one as it marked the last of this 25-year event, the last of the Square One walks.
Keeping to the kitchen and very close to the stove top, we had a serious job to do. Seventy-three walkers participated in early morning stretches, and then took to the mall. They walked and walked and then they were ready to eat! That’s where the pancakes came in. In just under 2 hours, 250+ pancakes we carefully created, ensuring a fluffy inside, cooked to perfection. A wonderful breakfast of pancakes, yogurt and fruit was enjoyed by all as was the sing-a-long celebration and participant pledge awards.
The Square One Older Adult Centre opened 25 years ago, on October 2, 1992. At that time the 10,000-square foot basement space was ready to support a crowd. This year, this same Centre has supported over 1,700 of Mississauga’s seniors, with a weekly schedule to rival that of the Fitness Centre above them - Line Dancing, Euchre, Tai Chi, Table Tennis and Belly Dancing, activities of all kinds, to keep visitors active and connected. With over 170 volunteers contributing over 49,000 volunteer hours annually, the role of Volunteer Coordinator is not an easy task. But, Karmela Buzdon takes it all on with a smile. For fourteen years she has ably supported the Centre’s volunteers, who are the driving force behind the energy, warmth and caring of this organization, improving the lives of so many, as they seek friendship, support and an opportunity to get involved.
An exciting new chapter for this community hub is just around the corner. The Centre is soon moving a few bus stops to the East, into another Mall, where they can enjoy a second floor location and windows to let the sun shine in. It is even changing its name to better reflect what it does every day. The Active Adult Centre of Mississauga will officially open in January 2018. This is what the apple green t-shirts reflect - a new chapter in the story of this Centre,with many more pancakes breakfasts to come.
At UCS we truly believe in the importance of our community, and in sharing our time and energy with those around us. Our company policy provides us with one full, paid day, to volunteer at the charity of our choice. This year, members of our Marketing and Credit Teams made pancakes for seniors, and what fun we had! We met the other volunteers who show up each day to brighten people’s lives. We helped serve the walkers who count on the Center for physical stimulation and personal interaction. We made new friends, perfected our pancake flipping technique, and we look forward to our next chance to join these “Active Adults” of Mississauga!