The following is the text of a speech presented at the Bruce House AGM, November 1 2017.

Good evening everyone, I am Sam, “the other Sam”.  and I have the privilege of being a Bruce House volunteer!

Linda [Truglia] asked recently for someone to speak about our volunteer experience at Bruce House, and I excitedly said I would.  Yesterday, a case of nervousness set in, so I wrote things down, please bear with me.

HOPE

What is hope?  Bruce House is Hope!

It is hope for people impacted by HIV, a place where they can turn to for support and compassion, caring and dignity, and acceptance without stigma.

There was no Bruce House, and no hope, when I lost my best friend to AIDS.

I have volunteered in different capacities at BH over the years—at the House, at the office, at special events, fundraising, the AIDS Walk, photo exhibits, the volunteer newsletter, and more.  I returned to Bruce House three years ago, after a few years off during a sad family time.  Being back helped me to reconnect with caring people, community, and the things that mattered most to me: helping others.  I have rekindled friendships and made new ones. Why volunteer at Bruce House?  Because, above all else, they care and provide hope!

Bruce House has endured changes and challenges, struggles and transformation.  Despite these struggles you will often hear reflections of gratitude and passion, life-saving experiences, love and inspiration, support and dedication, community and coming together; from clients, staff and volunteers.

Hope doesn’t need to be shouted from the highest mountain, nor proclaimed with power, it simply needs to be.  Hope comes from the heart, and part of heart of Bruce House is in this room! It is Sam Taylor, Linda Carr, Mariah, Doug, Linda T., Jay V., Patrick, Ayan, Lorraine, Lana, both Richards, Clive, Stefanie, Shannon, Bruce… hope I didn’t miss anyone … and it is every single volunteer who has cared and made a difference in the life of clients, families, and staff.

Hope sees the invisible, feels the intangible, achieves the impossible.

What is Hope? Bruce House is Hope!

Thank you, Linda [Truglia] for leading your volunteers with caring support, inspiration and dedication.

Thank you, Bruce House for all you do for so many.

—Sam

 

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