Volunteers With Heart
It’s National Volunteer Week. In honour of the tireless work of our volunteers, the core strength of our volunteer-based organization, we interviewed one of our newest volunteers, Connor Desrochers.
Connor came to Tourette Canada in Fall of 2021 with a desire to make a difference for people affected by Tourette Syndrome. He recently spoke as a representative of Tourette Canada at the opening ceremonies of a national fundraising event held in his community in support of Tourette Syndrome and is currently training to become a Tourette Canada, Support Group Facilitator. Connor has expressed interest in continuing to help Tourette Canada in any way he can in the future.
Connor took the time to share with us his unique journey with Tourette Syndrome and what volunteering and working with Tourette Canada means to him.
A Word from Connor
My name is Connor DesRochers. I am a volunteer for Tourette Canada and owner and founder of CLOKtalk. I am learning how to be a facilitator with Tourette Canada and I work as a Residential Instructor in the community I live in. I have been attending Virtual Support Groups on a weekly basis and I have also spoken publicly on Tourette Canada’s behalf.
Q&A With Connor
Q: Who/what made you want to volunteer?
A: I was on Tourette Canada’s website and noticed there was no local affiliate representing the East Coast. Living with Tourette Syndrome and living on the East Coast motivated me to email Tourette Canada to see about becoming a volunteer. I then connected with Tourette Canada’s Executive Director, Lisa McCoy. After speaking several times and getting to know each other. Lisa thought I would be a great fit for a volunteer. I thank Lisa McCoy for giving me this opportunity.
Q: Where else have you volunteered, if anywhere?
A: I have done some volunteer work within the communities I have lived in, although it was not tied to any non-profit organization. It was simply volunteer work. Examples are helping clean up the community, groundskeeping, helping neighbors, etc.
Q: What inspired you to volunteer for Tourette Canada and advocate for those with Tourette Syndrome?
A: Living with Tourette’s Syndrome my entire life inspired me to want to help others, especially those living with Mental Health Illness/Disorders. My mother was a huge advocate for me growing up and I saw firsthand how much that helped me. That got me thinking about how much I myself could do to help others. This is the reason why I love being a volunteer for Tourette Canada, why I am such an advocate today, and why I decided to start my project I am working on to help others living with Tourette’s Syndrome and Mental Health.
Q: As a volunteer of Tourette Canada, if you could pass on one word of advice to individuals living with Tourette Syndrome, what would it be?
A: Be yourself. No matter who is looking at you, who is talking about you, who thinks you are different or thinks you are weird. Always be yourself and be proud of you.
Q: Who’s someone you really admire? How did they inspire you?
A: My mother is the reason why I am able to be here today and be an advocate for not only others but myself as well. Growing up she was always looking for ways that would improve my quality of life and so I could be accepted into society as an “average” person. She set me up with a great psychiatrist, a great therapist and went to my school every year to do a presentation on what Tourette’s Syndrome is and how it affects me. She enrolled me in a camp with kids with TS+ and also did everything in her power every single day to have my back on everything. She inspired me to be who I am today and brought light to what path I needed to take in my life to be successfully happy. Although I am not certain, I just know deep down if she had not done this, that I probably would not be doing what I am doing now.
Q: What is your proudest achievement in volunteering?
A: I received an opportunity to speak at the Canadian Police Curling Championship on behalf of Tourette Canada. It made me so happy and honored to be able to talk to people in person and engage them in awareness and education about TS. Being a major supporter of Tourette Canada, I wanted the NPCA to hear Tourette Canada’s message through my voice, as it is great and very important to have these types of partnerships moving forward. With all that said, I would say my proudest achievement in volunteering would be the fact that I have found a lot in myself and accepted a lot in myself since I started volunteering for Tourette Canada. Connecting with individuals with TS is amazing and the level of support cannot be matched. It has boosted my confidence and therefore made it possible for me to be more of who I am and not be ashamed of it. I am proud of who I am today and I did not always feel that way, and Tourette Canada really helped me see that.
Q: What Tourette Canada strategies or programs are you most excited about in the coming year?
A: I never thought I would say that I am excited to see what the future holds for Tourette Syndrome but lately I have been excited to see what will become of it. Tourette Canada has made me really believe that the future of Tourette Syndrome will be great and there will be a lot of support and a type of community for people living with it. I am excited to see what the future of Tourette Canada will be with their Strategic Plan moving forward. I also am always excited to be involved in the Virtual Support Groups, Public Speaking and anything else TC has to offer. It is all great work being done with great leaders making it happen.
Q: Is there a certain volunteer you are proud of you want to give a shoutout to?
A: I believe all volunteers are doing a great job and it is great to meet so many different people who can all relate on this one topic. I would like to thank Lisa McCoy and Mariana Harrietha for connecting with me and giving me the opportunity to be able to be a volunteer for Tourette Canada. I would like to thank Simon Spencer for this interview as it helps a lot being able to answer these questions, and I would like to thank Tourette Canada in general for everything it is you do.
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