“A smile and a few words”: three decades of dedicated volunteerism with Cesare Stefanon

Cesare Stefanon is a familiar face at Three Links. He’s a sharp dresser who’s always quick with a greeting and a smile. As a Recreation Assistant and Social Visitor, he has befriended residents as a volunteer since 1982–making him one of Three Link Society’s longest standing volunteers.

“Everyone has a hobby,” says Cesare, “and mine has always been volunteering with seniors.” Since he moved to Canada from Italy almost fifty years ago, he’s dedicated his time to helping people–both in his job at Vancouver General Hospital and in his personal time. Three Links was an easy decision for him because it’s close to home and dedicated to the well being of the seniors he wanted to help.

Cesare visited Three Links every week, twice a week after work to lead the popular afternoon bingo sessions. His schedule opened up for other activities after he retired, and he’s been everything from an afternoon tea companion to personal shopper for residents ever since. Along with a close-knit family and four grandchildren, he counts friends among residents of Three Links. You’ll often see him softly speaking Italian to a dear friend while they share an espresso and morning sun.

When asked of his favourite memories during his thirty-two years volunteering at Three Links, he’s quick to remember the volunteer appreciation dinners that brought residents and volunteers together for an evening each year. For him, it’s a memory that represents the close and diverse of community at Three Links and, more specifically, a great chance to put on his dancing shoes.

Cesare recognizes the power of even the smallest act of kindness. “You don’t have to do much,” he says, “sometimes it’s as easy as a smile and a few words.” His cheer and good humour are quick to spread among the residents. He counts himself among friends and he recognizes that, one day, he could be in their shoes–and he hopes that there will be others willing to volunteer some time to keep a smile on his face.

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