Marla Noble joined the volunteer team at the Bernard Betel Centre in 2008 as a Friendly Visitor volunteer. During her first three years, Marla provided friendship and conversation to a woman who was a Holocaust survivor. Following that, she took on a new role assisting in the cafeteria where she is still active today. Last year, she was recognized for reaching the 10 year milestone for volunteer service.
Although active with us for the past 10 years, her volunteer engagement began many years prior to joining our team. Marla attributes her need to give back to the community to her family, and talks about her parents teaching her the importance of Jewish values. When she was 15, Marla recalls sitting alongside her mother as they manned the phones to raise money for muscular dystrophy. This was an event organized by Shoppers Drug Mart, where her mother worked as a legal secretary. This is one of Marla’s most cherished volunteer memories. When Marla was just 17 years old, her mother lost her battle with lung cancer and passed away at the young age of 41.
Over the years, Marla expanded her passion of giving back to the community in many ways. When she was 16, she volunteered as a Candy Striper at Baycrest Hospital, where she would wheel the medication cart throughout the wards and assist with the Meals on Wheels program. Marla’s efforts excelled in fundraising by raising money for the Leukemia Foundation, Live Aid, the Canadian Cancer Society, Juvenile Diabetes, Heart and Stroke and United Chesed of Toronto. Marla is especially proud to have volunteered at the first Toronto area Ronald McDonald House at the age of 17. She helped get the house ready for the grand opening and also worked in the Arts and Crafts shop.
Marla’s love and compassion for people also extends to animals. In December of 2011, she adopted her dog Peekoo from the Toronto Animal Shelter.
We are thankful that Marla has decided to share her vast experience and generous spirit with our centre over the past 11 years. Despite her own personal challenges she knows that once she arrives at the centre, she is where she is needed. Whether she is assisting in the cafeteria, or visiting with and having a chat with the members. Marla shares her motivation for volunteering: “There is nothing like making that special difference in someone else’s life, and having them leave with a smile on their face.” We thank Marla for her generous and kind spirit, compassion and empathy for people and for a lifetime dedication to volunteer work.