#ElderWisdom | Stories from the Green Bench

15. Margaret Collard - a life given to ministry & outreach work, respect and care for everyone individually

April 27, 2021

Episode #15 - A sparkling chat with Margaret Collard who has given her life to ministry joins Erin Davis & Lloyd Hetherington from The Village of Winston Park in Kitchener to share her story from the green bench.

A Minister for the United Church of Canada in Scarborough, with a focus on street ministry in outreach projects, Margaret shares about the challenging work with her community. Her husband, former Waterloo Regional Police Officer, was also doing justice work on the streets alongside her.  "it is better to work in pairs"

Margaret mentions the Rouge National Urban Park the work that she and her family did with people in the area. Agincourt Community Centre, churches and groups provided food and supplies within the community.

We learn about the importance to really listen to those around us and those asking for help.

"Just being in their presence saying, I'm here and I care." -Lloyd Hetherington

"When we really listen to their story, we can learn from that." -Margaret Collard

Margaret's children and grandchildren have been exposed to the way of life on the street as she teaches them the importance to stop and listen to people.  Rather than just giving them money, offering a place to go get some food or get what they needed.  Showing the children that these are people who deserve our respect, but also a warning not to bury our heads be alert to the risk.

"Children are really bright.  We sometimes don't give them the credit." -Margaret Collard

"We must treat everyone with dignity & respect." -Lloyd Hetherington

You cannot just group everyone under the same umbrella.  It takes the whole community to be alert and ask what can they do to make a difference.  Churches and Community Centres play a significant role to support while transforming the caregiver and the individual being cared for.  Important to try and understand where that person is coming from.  

"Anyone can be an activist by writing letters, by not turning a blind eye." -Erin Davis

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The Green Bench is a symbol of elder wisdom. Physically or virtually, the bench invites us all to sit alongside a senior, share a conversation, or give and offer advice.

It challenges the stigma seniors face; the ageism still so prevalent in society. It reminds us of the wealth of wisdom our elders offer and in doing so, helps restore them to a place of reverence.

"The greatest untapped resource in Canada, if not the world, is the collective wisdom of our elders." -Ron Schlegel

This podcast is brought to you by Schlegel Villages, retirement & long-term care homes in Ontario, Canada.

#ElderWisdom | Stories from the Green Bench is produced by Memory Tree Productions
 Learn more about our host, Erin Davis, at erindavis.com
 Learn more about co-host, Lloyd Hetherington
 Learn more about #ElderWisdom at elderwisdom.ca

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