Working all week and volunteering on the weekend!

Posted on Thursday, April 11, 2019

Darius Stamatakos, a first-year biopharmaceutical science student, already has a very impressive CV. In addition to doing his assignments, labs and exams, he works part time and is completing three volunteer placements. Because of this community involvement, he was awarded an Allan Rock Scholarship from the Michaëlle Jean Centre for Global and Community Engagement.

Firmly believing in the importance of giving back to the community, Darius started getting involved when he was in high school. In 2017, during his final year, he began two placements, as a friendly visitor at the Saint-Louis Residence and as a donor centre volunteer for Canadian Blood Services.   At the residence, he visits those most isolated during the day, which he finds very gratifying. Meanwhile, at the donor centre, he meets those who have just given blood. Darius wanted to get involved because his grandfather had received many blood transfusions during his fight against cancer. So, even before starting university in 2018, Darius was aware of how rewarding community engagement can be.

At university, Darius decided to stay just as involved. His first volunteer placement as an undergraduate was as a research assistant with the Bruyère Research Institute. He was responsible for collecting data, studying the relationship between mobility and cognitive ability in the elderly. What’s more, the institute asked him to lead a brain exercise class.

 Darius Stamatakos

This placement was important for him because his grandmother suffers from Alzheimer’s disease, and he knows her difficulties trying to perform normal, everyday activities.  To learn more about the hospital environment, he also chose a placement with Montfort Hospital,  Ontario’s French-language teaching hospital, as a volunteer receptionist.  He welcomes patients and assists the doctors and nurses. He appreciates having the chance to learn about the hospital environment. Finally, he serves as a referee for Hockey Canada District 9. This form of community engagement on ice has taught him to make quicker decisions.  He’s proud to be able to balance everything, especially with school keeping him very busy, all thanks to his supervisors’ flexibility.

Darius wishes to become a doctor. In his placements, he tries to improve the experience and quality of life of the residents and visitors he spends time with. In addition to assisting others, Darius is using his placements to help achieve his educational and career goals.  He encourages students to get involved because, for him, community engagement helps change your perspective on life and broaden your network of contacts. Darius is touched by the recognition from our centre and by the unforgettable experiences he is having without financial worry.

By: Andrew Heath