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Meet Morgan: The first step is understanding and inclusion

April 23, 2021

As we continue to highlight those who donate their time at CAN, we introduce you to Morgan Painchaud in Kelowna. Morgan is one of the many volunteers who have since been hired as a support worker in our programs.

Despite making the transition to staff, Morgan still volunteers by organizing fundraisers that benefit the programs she works in! In the past three years, she’s helped organize two unique events that have brought in a combined $4,500+ for CAN! Incredible.

One of them took place this past weekend – a city-wide treasure hunt with Treaze. Find out what motivates Morgan to do SO MUCH for CAN in our Q&A with her!

What programs have you volunteered for?

Since joining CAN as a volunteer in 2017, I have been a part of Active, Multisport, Gymnastics, Weekly Youth & Adult and Summer Day Camps.

I have been very fortunate in the past four years to have the time to put into such a great organization. Between programs and and planning fundraising events, I have accumulated over 100 hours of service for CAN.

I am very grateful to have had so many opportunities to learn about, advocate for, and provide support to autistic children, youth, and their families.

CAN’s Active program with new COVID protocols and physical distancing.

Why did you choose to volunteer with CAN?

I was looking for something I’d be excited for on a weekly basis. Upon learning about CAN, it seemed a little too good to be true.

Hanging out with kids, playing games and being active was the perfect scenario. I can confirm that it’s just as good in real life as it seems on paper!

Tell us about the transition you made from volunteering to become a staff member!

Each week was so fulfilling. Volunteering with CAN gave me the tools to feel confident in supporting individuals with diverse abilities. I’m forever grateful for that.

Seeing how much fun CAN participants have each week and seeing their skills grow has been such an amazing experience. This past Fall, I wanted to take on more responsibility at CAN, so I took the steps to transition into a support worker role.

Since then, I have been lucky enough to become a virtual coach for the CAN Science Club, continue to support Active & Multisport and will be taking steps to become an in-person coach this Spring.

You’ve helped organize two fundraisers for CAN in the two years. Tell us about them!

I was involved in planning and facilitating Country for CAN back in June 2019. Several local BC country musicians came together for a benefit concert. We hosted a 50/50 raffle and a silent auction. The night was such a blast and we successfully raised over $2,500.

This past weekend, a fellow CAN volunteer (and my close friend), Nina Gaspari, joined me in planning a COVID-friendly and socially-distanced scavenger hunt with Treaze. With the support of amazing local companies, we raised over $1,500.


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What is your favourite memory  volunteering with CAN?

There was one particularly challenging session. I felt like I was struggling to demonstrate the skills my participant needed to work on.

The parent was watching on the sidelines and approached me afterwards. They told me that they had never seen their child so chatty and excited to come to programs before!

It was such an important moment for me. Even though I felt like I was struggling to support them, the parent was just so appreciative that they had a place they wanted to come to.

I feel like that’s the true success of any CAN program – the ability to instill confidence in each individual so that they may feel understood and included. That’s the first step in developing their skills and forming social connections, no matter the activity or community setting.

For anyone looking for a place where autistic youth are supported. Or anyone wishing to provide that support – I can’t recommend CAN enough!

More volunteer stories!

Nina Gaspari: “Be kind to one another”

Meet Austin: Helping give equal opportunity

Sebastian: “Living a life I like”

Kyle Boyle: Why I volunteer for CAN

Former hockey player gives back at CAN skate