Kincardine teen wins provincial volunteer award


A Kincardine teen has won a provincial award in part for volunteering more than 150 hours at the hospital.


The Hospital Auxiliaries Association of Ontario awarded Julia Robertson, 18, with one of three awards for student volunteers at a ceremony in Toronto on the weekend.


To date, she has volunteered 186 hours at the hospital over five years.


Robertson’s younger brother, Nathan, was set to accept the award, a $1,000 scholarship, as she couldn’t make it back to Ontario from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia, where she is in her second year of a science degree.


This is the first time anyone from Kincardine has won such an award at the provincial level, says Anne Nicolson, the Kincardine hospital auxiliary’s student volunteer co-ordinator.


“It’s a feather in our cap that one of our girls has managed to do it because we are a small hospital; we only have 36 beds. It’s really difficult for the kids to get the hours,” she says.


Julia Robertson. (submitted photo)


Robertson won out of 33 other applicants in the category for hospitals with fewer than 100 beds.


Nicolson nominated her at the end of summer based on the exceptional number of hours she has volunteered – filling patients’ ice containers, cleaning up dirty dishes, delivering specimens to the lab, or restocking linens and other supplies – but also for her enthusiasm on the job.


“That’s what shines through whenever you see Julia,” she says. “She comes in with a smile from ear to ear the whole time. She seems to enjoy things.”


And it’s not just her. Julia’s brother Nathan and older sister Kara have also volunteered hundreds of hours at the hospital.


The medical field is a mutual interest for several of the Robertson siblings. Julia’s mom, Jane Robertson, says Julia is thinking of going into medical research.


But Julia doesn’t just volunteer for her own interests.


“She has a real social conscious; she’s always been that way,” says Jane.


“She’s one of those people (who say): ‘You don’t buy a dog, you go to the dog pound and you rescue a dog.’”


Even while doing school work, she still finds time to volunteer with a Christian youth group on campus, work as a residence advisor and cook chili with her friends to dole out to homeless people a few times a year.


It’s no surprise that with all her volunteer work, and a heavy week of midterms and labs, The Independent didn’t manage to pin Robertson down to talk about her win.


But her mom says she will slow down enough to come home at Christmas. Nicolson has already penciled her in for a few shifts at the hospital.


“Every time she’s home she still goes back and volunteers. She likes to see things through and do as much as she can,” says her mom. “We need people like that…we need people paying it forward.”