Funded by the North Simcoe Muskoka LHIN, VON Simcoe County’s Adult Day Program in Orillia Fosters Volunteerism

April 17, 2018

The mere mention of seniors makes Barbara Blagaich’s face light up. A volunteer at the Simcoe County branch of the Victorian Order of Nurses’ (VON) Orillia location, Barbara is a regular at the organization’s Adult Day Program (ADP) every Thursday, supporting members through a structured set of activities such as baking, crafts, games, and exercise. Although it’s a busy day, she returns home feeling energized.

 “My heart feels so good when I leave here,” says Barbara. “It’s like a breath of fresh air for me.”

Enhancing care supports for aging adults is one of the four identified priorities that will guide the work of the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (LHIN) over the next three years. VON Simcoe County’s ADP is funded by the North Simcoe Muskoka Local Health Integration Network (LHIN), in addition to other services for seniors such as respite care, meal delivery, and personal support. The NSM LHIN has committed more than $3 million in the 2018 – 2019 fiscal year to continue supporting these—and other—VON initiatives.


Volunteer Barbara Blagaich, volunteer at the Simcoe County branch of the Victorian Order of Nurses’ (VON) Orillia location. National Volunteer Week takes place from April 15 – 21, 2018.

In addition to funding, volunteers like Barbara play a crucial role in supporting the success of community organizations such as VON.  Barbara helps VON activities run smoothly by providing members with assistance throughout the day. And while she volunteers once a week—and sometimes more if other volunteers are sick or unable to attend—the time commitment is flexible. For example, a local Orillia woodworker comes in once a month to teach members how to make something new, using wood that he donates. 


“We always need more volunteers,” explains Nicole Quesnelle, an activation programmer at VON Simcoe County’s Orillia location, “and the time commitment can vary.”

Members certainly appreciate having them around. Darlene Tromanhauser has been coming to the ADP since September. For her, it’s an opportunity to connect with others—including VON staff and volunteers, whom she refers to as “wonderful people.”

Barbara comes by her volunteerism naturally. She grew up with four siblings, an uncle, and a grandmother. “For as long as I can remember,” she says, “I’ve liked doing things for others.” She was an active volunteer in her children’s’ school, helping with the breakfast program and supervising school trips. She now works part-time at a doctor’s office, and is on the volunteer call list at the local food bank.

Members of VON’s Orillia ADP are like extended family to Barbara. Not only does she run into them regularly in the community, but she learns a lot from their experiences. She encourages others to do the same. 

Everything is an experience, so go out and experience things,” she says. “Life’s too short, and these people will tell you exactly that.”

To provide your input on supporting the needs of aging adults in North Simcoe Muskoka, as well as other priorities that will improve the local health system, please take a few minutes to complete the NSM LHIN’s survey. Your feedback will be used to help prepare the Integrated Health Service Plan (IHSP) for 2019 – 2022. 


For more information contact:

Marisa Marzano

Senior Communications and Digital Media Advisor

705-326-7750 ext. 3243