VON Durham celebrates 100 years of community service

Categories: Care.

From prenatal education and baby clinics to home-based palliative care and exercise classes currently offered for seniors, the organization’s staff and volunteers have served various roles.

“VON, throughout their century, have attempted to provide services that were needed in the community,” said Joyce Marshall, president of the board of directors for VON Durham, celebrating its 100th anniversary next month.

“Wherever the needs were, they tried to fulfill that spot.”

VON Canada (Victorian Order of Nurses) is a national health organization and registered charity that offers more than 75 different home care, personal support, and community services through various sites. Each site is jointly operated by volunteer boards of local citizens and professional staff. Types of services offered at each location vary depending on the community.

The local organization’s most notable programs include home care nursing, flu and other wellness clinics, as well as the SMART (Seniors Maintaining Active Roles Together) exercise program. The services are scattered throughout Durham, including Whitby, Oshawa, Ajax, Pickering, Clarington, Scugog, Port Perry, and Uxbridge.

“At the moment, this branch doesn’t have any nurses doing in-home care but we do have nurses doing wellness clinics and we have (personal support workers) in long-term care facilities,” said Ms. Marshall.

VON Durham’s roots date back to 1914 when there was a need for home care for mothers and their babies.

“It’s interesting to note that we started out by helping babies and moms and now we’ve basically gone full circle and we’re focusing on seniors,” she added.

A member of the organization for 15 years, Ms. Marshall is a Whitby resident and has been president of the board for the past decade but will be stepping down this year.

Over the past few weeks, she’s been working hard to track down past staff and volunteers to invite them to VON Durham’s 100th anniversary celebration.

“I really think it’s wonderful to look back and see how many people throughout the region … have contributed to helping each other and helping their community, whether it’s through nursing or through social interaction,” said Ms. Marshall.

VON Durham’s 100th anniversary celebration will be held on Wednesday, June 11 at the Centennial Building, 416 Centre St. S., Whitby. There will be an open house from 3 to 5 p.m., followed by a formal presentation and the organization’s annual general meeting.

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