ART AND DOROTHY RILEY NAMED AS VOLUNTEERS OF THE MONTH FOR JUNE 2017
For over 30 years, Art and Dorothy Riley have been very active volunteers with the Guelph Wellington Seniors Association (GWSA). In 1987, at the age of 55 and 60, Art and Dorothy were about to embark on a new journey that would lead them to an incredible circle of friends and make them an integral part of the GWSA community. Art was transferred from his job in Montreal to Guelph; Dorothy, also having worked in Montreal, chose to build on her love of the extensive volunteer work she did in Montreal and made the decision to search out a local senior’s centre, get involved and volunteer.
“Back in 1989,” shares Gail Moore of GWSA, “the Rileys were instrumental in the ‘Buy a Brick’ Fundraising Campaign, which raised $ 1.2 million towards building the Evergreen Senior’s Centre. When the Evergreen Centre doors opened in February, 1992, Art and Dorothy were there and have been active volunteers at the Centre ever since.
Art and Dorothy have served on the GWSA Board of Directors and various committees but both have pursued their “main” passion since the early 90’s. Dorothy’s passion is the Information Desk at the Evergreen Centre. Dorothy enjoys giving tours of the Evergreen Centre and sharing her knowledge of the GWSA with new visitors. Every Monday you will find Dorothy greeting visitors of all ages and answering questions that people have.” If Dorothy doesn’t have the answer on the tip of her tongue, it’s probably in the ‘Book of Knowledge’ that Dorothy and her colleagues have compiled over the years.” says Gail Moore.
Art volunteers with the Evergreen Restaurant each week in addition to his sharply dressed role as an usher at the Annual Variety Show, but Art’s true passion is the GWSA Travel Club. Art has been the chair of the travel committee for over 17 years providing GWSA members with a variety of trips throughout Ontario including the annual ‘Mystery’ tour. Gail shares, “There is a lot of planning that goes into each trip and Art’s attention to the fine details has resulted in many excellent experiences for the travellers. Art researches the venues, arranges the buses, looks after the marketing of the trip through the Sentinel newsletter and the GWSA website, determines the pricing and makes sure all the other details are looked after.”
It is important to Dorothy and Art to “be friendly and to create a friendly community”. Dorothy says, “I always try to put a smile on a sad face”. Guelph is richer for the kindness, caring and friendly character of Art and Dorothy; imagine the smiles they have created and the impact of their involvement throughout their 30 year volunteer history.
As appreciation for their volunteer support, the Rileys were recognized as Ontario Senior of the Year in 2005, but their gift of time and knowledge has continued to make an impact on the GWSA and the community of Guelph. As we celebrate Senior’s Month this June, take a moment to consider the gifts that older adults bring to communities; the passion, commitment and wisdom. Volunteering is a great way to keep connected after retirement and Dorothy shares, ‘I would suggest to anyone to look for a senior’s centre and get involved!”.