Singing at a local retirement home is the highlight of the week
Ryan Rogers

One of the things Charlene looks forward to the most each week is meeting with her friends at the Royal City Manor retirement home in Westminster B.C. to volunteer at their sing-a-longs.

On Friday, April 15 Charlene was recognized at one of the Royal City Manor’s volunteer teas for her near five years of service. She was given a button as a token of their appreciation, which she wore for more than a week after receiving it.

Day support worker Amy Chang with posAbilities’ AEGIS West says that even though Charlene isn’t too adventurous, and prefers not to go out, she is always keen to return to Royal City Manor.

“If it was up to her, she’d stay put,” says Amy, “but (the sing-a-long) she talks about all week and really looks forward to. There’s absolutely no hesitation about going.”

Charlene sings the songs she’s learned throughout the week when they’re not at the retirement home, as well.

“It’s not just that one day for her,” says Amy. “It carries over the rest of the week and it’s obviously made an impact on her life.”

“When she smiles, her whole face lights up, and she likes to joke around,” says Amy. “I think it’s those moments when you get her to smile that are a real highlight with her.”

Charlene is a former employee at the retirement home from eight years ago. After she left, the staff members and residents missed her so much they invited her back as a volunteer.

She selected joining their sing-a-longs, and leads anywhere between 15 and 25 seniors through wartime songs like “She’ll be coming round the mountain,” and “It’s a long way to Tipperary.”

Charlene says her favourite song is “I’ve been working on the railroad,” and that her favourite singer is Shania Twain.

She’s made a big impact on the residents at Royal City Manor, and the staff have renamed the sing-a-long sessions in her honour, as “Singing with Charlene.”

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