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Member Stories

Cummings Centre Member Stories...

"Volunteering in the Alzheimer’s day program – therapeutic for clients, therapeutic for me," says Cummings Volunteer Edith Simand.

"Sensory experiences and socialization, in a structured environment can be very helpful for individuals with memory loss, Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia," says Program Manager Tanya Nemiroff.

Cummings Centre currently runs nine groups for individuals with memory loss, Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia. Participants have the opportunity to participate in activities designed to enhance cognitive and emotional well-being. The arts, music therapy, fitness and cognitive games are emphasized as well as respite for families.

All groups are led by a social worker, recreaologist and assisted by a volunteer.  Volunteers like Edith are so essential to the dynamics and running of the group.

"I retired several years ago after working as a professional occupational therapist catering to older adults," says Simand. " I missed working, knew I had a lot to offer and wanted to put my skills to good use.

Cummings Centre Volunteer Department matched me with the Social Services Day Program Alzheimer’s Support Group- I’ve always enjoyed working with older adults so it’s a natural fit.

I derive such pleasure working with Cumming staff and the members of the group, facilitating interaction, socialization and offering support. I always look forward to my weekly volunteer role at the Centre."

To learn more about the Social Services Day Program or contact Tanya Nemiroff 514.342.1234 local 7323.

"We changed their life; they changed my life too. I am not the same person I was 15 years ago," says Member Leslie Vertes, Cummings Centre Volunteer, Holocaust Survivors Assistant Office.

"I’ve been working as a Cummings Centre Volunteer in the Holocaust Survivors Assistant Office since 2000 alongside many dedicated volunteers. We work as a team - provide useful information, advice and assist Survivors and their families apply for monetary and property compensations.

In the early days, only a few people came to the Office but now- the work spread about our free, honest, efficient service and now we’re very busy."

"I work every Friday, rain or shine. Even a week after my angioplasty, the following Friday I made it to my post by 8 am. I knew my clients were there waiting for me. I couldn’t disappoint them," reflects Leslie.

"Helping people with applications for compensation is really rewarding. Whether it’s buying food, medication, a small gift for their granddaughter, it makes a huge impact on their quality of life. When they tell me this, than I know: my volunteer work is priceless and I go home with a happy feeling, that I did something for myself too.

Many survivors are single, widowed with loved ones living far away.

We changed their life; they changed my life too. I am not the same person I was 15 years ago.

I learn to listen, to understand them, to put myself in their shoes!

In 2016 February I will be 92 years old and I hope I will have a few more 100 Fridays in the Cummings, because I know very well for the seniors the Cummings Centre is the next best thing after the Medicare."

Cummings Centre congratulates an outstanding and active volunteer

The Cummings Centre congratulates an outstanding and active volunteer, Leslie Vertes, for his significant, sustained and impactful contribution to the community! At a recent ceremony at the Residence of the Governor General at the Citadelle of Québec —His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, presented the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award to Leslie Vertes along with 29 other volunteers from various sectors of society.

Leslie, a Holocaust survivor, has dedicated his time to the Cummings Centre, where he has helped victims of war reclaim millions in reparations. At 91 years old, Mr. Vertes continues to travel to schools as a guest speaker, inspiring his community and youth to be more caring and compassionate.

“Congratulations to our dedicated volunteer Leslie Vertes for his tireless efforts to share his personal story and leave a lasting legacy on behalf of all survivors. Leslie's devotion is driven by a deep respect and caring for his fellow survivors. This a remarkable recognition so well deserved,” notes Lynn Gordon, Director of Volunteer Services at the Cummings Centre. “Leslie, you continue to inspire us...we're so proud!”

About the Caring Canadian Award

Created in 1995, the Governor General’s Caring Canadian Award recognizes living Canadians and permanent residents who have made a significant, sustained, unpaid contribution to their community, in Canada or abroad. Often working behind the scenes, these individuals volunteer their time and efforts to help their fellow citizens. The award also brings to light the example set by volunteers, whose compassion and engagement are a part of our Canadian character. For more information visit

Let us show you how volunteering at the Cummings Centre can enrich your life and the lives of others. For more information contact Lynn Gordon 514.342.1234 local 7240

"Find your passion," says Betty Reicher, Cummings Centre member

Get out of your comfort zone: With back to school semester upon us, learning  something new is easy at the Cummings Centre. Working with a raw  stone and seeing what becomes of it teaches you patience and perseverance. Encouraged by a talented teacher, sculpting has become a labour of love. When you finish a piece, there is such a great feeling of accomplishment, says  Betty Reicher, Cummings Centre member.

It doesn’t matter which passion you want to explore, which art form or hobby you want to try or topic you want to learn about; the Cummings Centre’s teachers give you the encouragement and the tips and tools to succeed.

To get out of your comfort zone and try something new, check out the Fall Program Sampler Event schedule - two days of free activities, September 9 and 10.

Check out our full roster of Craft courses for the fall.

Let us show you how volunteering at the Cummings Centre can enrich your life and the lives of others. For more information contact Lynn Gordon 514.342.1234 local 7240

"Volunteering at the Cummings Centre, i can really put my skills to good use," Annette Oliel, Volunteer since 2012

It’s two years now that I joined the Cummings Centre volunteer corps. After volunteering in other organizations, the Cummings Centre is where I feel the most comfortable, I can really put my skills to good use- it’s now my home.

I’m so active! I am a Board member and will be chairing the Communications and Marketing Committee. I’m interested in Human Resources, Communications and growing Francophone participation so, it’s a great fit. Working with the staff and fellow volunteers, who are experts in their field, keep me challenged and continually learning.

“We're waiting for you," Linda Richmond, yoga student and volunteer

A home is a place where people who care come together.  The Cummings Centre is home to me and so many others.  I volunteer in Registration where not only do I register members, volunteers and guests for classes and courses, I welcome them.  I see them arrive through rain, snow and sleet to engage, participate and give back.

The Yoga classes I take give me respite allowing me to gather my thoughts calming my mind and soul.  The Yoga ladies have become a little family sharing lunches while listening and supporting each other.

In the quiet mornings in the gym, I see the determination of our members to live and participate- even those with extreme challenges.  This affirms my belief that age is just a number. Whether volunteering, learning a new skill, working out in the gym or doing committee work, there are so many ways to engage

To see our list of exercise programs and learn about volunteering.

"I was ready to learn from the best," Nina Miller, member and bridge enthusiast.

Go to the Centre and learn something new. It’s a wonderful place to meet old friends, make new ones while focusing on a new skill.

My husband and I decided to take classes together, opening up a new facet of our lives. There’s plenty for us to choose from and my focus here at the Centre is bridge and I’m having a great time!

For a list of bridge classes click here

"I was looking for something to sink my teeth into," Norm Cohen, member

"After 45 years in the work force and newly retired, I knew I wanted to give back," says Norman Cohen, Cummings Centre member. "My wife and I started volunteering in the kitchen at Cummings.  Bev makes the omelets and pancakes and I serve them!  We are still a great team!  I love volunteering at the Centre, the facility and the people are amongst the finest!"

The Cummings Centre makes volunteering easy. “Our dedicated volunteers are the heart and soul of the Centre, sharing their energy, creativity, caring and support,” says Lynn Gordon, Director of Volunteer Services. "Whether delivering Meals on Wheels, motivating participants through their exercise routines, planning events or using their business acumen for strategic committee work, our volunteers are an integral part of the functioning and success of the Cummings Centre and its satellite sites. As a volunteer based organization, volunteers work hand in hand on a daily basis with our professional staff, members, clients and fellow volunteers to ensure each person is provided the care and attention he/she desires.”

To find out how you can get started, call Lynn Gordon 514.342.1234 local 7240 or click here.

"For your health and relationships," Victoria Zareski, member

Get into shape! Meet great people!

My husband and I tried many gyms before coming here.  Then one of our friends recommended the Cummings Centre. It was love at first try. This is the place for our age group. We not only work our health here, but also our relationships. It is everything we wanted in a gym and more!

Plus, Davida is an incredible Pilates teacher, she’s dynamic and works with each one of us regardless of our fitness level, she’s a real expert.
The Cummings Centre offers several Pilates classes to fit into your busy schedule:

Mon/ Wed 9:30 to 10:25 am
Tues/Thurs 9:10 to 10:10 am
Mon/Wed 5 to 6 pm (evening)

Focus on strengthening the abdominal, shoulder girdle and back muscles to improve core strength, stability and posture. To register or learn more contact Annette Vezina 514.342.1234 local 7305.

"I Found My Rhythm,” Alice Bendayan, member and volunteer

“My weekly line dancing class at the Cummings Centre is a staple in my life,” says Alice Bendayan Cummings member & volunteer.

I’m learning all kinds of dances; Spanish, Hebrew, hip-hop, Latin and everything in between - the music is upbeat and varied - it’s challenging and fun! There’s plenty of health benefits! The memory retention for dance steps, the physical workout (yes, we sweat) and sheer joy of the music is so uplifting, it fuels my day.

What’s particularly special about the class is that we developed camaraderie, we’re a cohesive group who love to dance; we cheer each other on, have fun together and look out for one another. Plus, Angela is an amazing teacher; dynamic, inclusive for all levels of dancers and she’s an expert dancer herself.

I’m getting so much out of the dance class; I’m adding Pilates to my exercise routine this winter! That is when I’m not volunteering!

For a full list of dance and dance related exercise classes at the Centre.

"Now, the road ahead is wide-open full of anticipated new discoveries and endless possibilities," Anna Abramowicz, member

Often at this stage of life we ask ourselves 'what now?' This is particularly true for people like myself who devoted their lives to their careers and family. When I made the decision to redirect my interests I was scared. Joining Prime Time and the Cummings Centre dispersed those fears in no time. The 'over the hill' button is permanently on pause.

It all began in 2010. I was determined to prove to myself that there was more to life than work.  I cut back on my work hours and I joined the Cummings Centre –that’s when I began fulfilling my dreams!

While gardening kept me busy in the summer, I needed to find activities to keep me active, busy and engaged in the fall and winter.

I live on the West Island so, Prime Time, the West Island of division of the Cummings Centre, was a great place to start... it quickly snowballed from there, I joined the Cummings Centre, main campus site and the rest is history.

Hiking in the fall, snowshoeing adventures in the winter help me stay active and healthy. Digital photography classes and jewellery inspired creativity.

My newest passion, Ballroom Dancing keeps makes me feel and look younger and what an opportunity to learn to dance the way I always dreamed about…I followed the disco dancing folly instead of my heart back in the 80’s. These days I dare to do things I like and not what is expected of me. It has been an exhilarating and liberating experience".

The Centre provides the opportunity to fulfill and make your dreams come true, learn new skills, make new friends and just enjoy life. 

To learn what the Cummings Centre and its off-campus sites are all about call 514.342.1234 local 7209 or click here to view our new Guide.

"After seeing the incredible work being done in the post-stroke rehab classes, I could hardly wait and did not hesitate to volunteer," Arthur Bronstein, member

I joined the Cummings Centre a year ago and I've been happy I did so ever since. In 2010 I made the all-important decision to retire from my long-standing career practising real estate and commercial law. I knew of the Cummings Centre but had no idea what existed inside those four walls and I was curious.
I took the initiative, made the call and the volunteer team responded with an invitation for a tour of the Centre. It was during the walk about that I realized the incredible opportunities and programs available. This was truly amazing!
I started off as a member of the Social Action committee - A group that advocates on behalf of seniors in the community. One of the many issues that arose was to provide seniors living in subsidized housing with the opportunity to be intellectually stimulated and to socialize. So I teamed up with a fellow committee member, Ursula Feist, an author and fellow volunteer and we led a discussion group at the Caldwell Residences.

Virtually at the same time I began my second volunteer role as assistant to the instructors in the Adapted Exercise Clinic. I get so much satisfaction helping the clients work to rebuild their strength- it's humbling. You'll find me in the post-stroke classes, Tuesdays and Thursdays.

There's so much to get involved in at the Centre, come and see for yourself what's inside these four walls. To learn more about the meaningful volunteer opportunities that are waiting for you call Lynn Gordon, 514.342.1234 local 7240.







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