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Volunteers

Motherhood Makes It Meaningful

Julie Haberlin and Rosie Sandhu are friends and colleagues having worked together at the Clearbrook branch of the Prospera Credit Union for several years. They also volunteer at Matthew’s House, often volunteering together. They recently shared another experience: motherhood.

Rosie’s son, Camden and Julie’s daughter, Erica are just five days apart – Camden is older. Erica seems petite compared to her friend but that’s mostly because she was born five weeks early.

“She didn’t want to miss anything,” Julie says, smiling.

Motherhood looks good on these two. Their children are thriving and Julie and Rosie are enjoying the sharing of this experience. When asked what they love most about parenting, they both talk about connection.

“I’ve experienced so much love,” Rosie says, with tears in her eyes. “There’s just been this instant bond.”

Julie agrees. “It’s amazing to be responsible for this little person that you love so much.”

Their experience of parenting has also impacted their experience of volunteering for Matthew’s House. Matthew’s House supports families by providing quality care in a homelike environment to children who live with complex care needs. The friends got involved with volunteering when their boss, Tammy McLachlan told them about opportunities to raise awareness and funds even before Matthew’s House opened its doors in November 2013. Julie was drawn by Matthew’s story and appreciates the fact that it is a story about a resource right in her own community. Rosie has been moved by the ongoing stories of families who are being supported there.

“As you learn more about how much families need this place, you just want to stay and support it,” she says.

Julie and Rosie pose with Rick Mercer at the Rant and Raise in June. Volunteering here was a highlight experience for both women.

The pair have volunteered at fundraising galas, staffed the Matthew’s House booth at events like the Abbotsford Berry Festival, and worked at the coat check at the RV Show at Tradex (where proceeds supported Matthew’s House.) Most recently they volunteered at the Rant and Raise with Rick Mercer, which was a highlight event for both women.

“I love talking to people, especially when they’ve never heard about Matthew’s House and you can tell them what a great resource this is,” Julie says. “I love it when people say ‘I know someone who could use this.’”

Becoming new moms has made their volunteer experience even more meaningful and has put the realities of parenting a child with special needs into new perspective.

“Being a mom can be hard,” Julie says. “When I imagine the challenges that the parents at Matthew’s House face, I realize that their experience is a hundred times harder than what I deal with.”

Rosie nods her agreement, adding that being a new mom has given her even greater motivation to support Matthew’s House.

“Before I had Camden, I didn’t know what parenting was like. So now, when I’m volunteering, I know that the time I spend at an event will make a difference, even in the smallest way, to these families.”

Julie and Rosie hope that others will also consider supporting Matthew’s House by volunteering and by making a donation.

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