Woo recognized for volunteer work at Health Care Foundation

Dave Mathieson
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18-year-old Peter Woo was on a trip to Boston with the Amherst Regional High School Band when he was named the Cumberland Health Care Foundation's Volunteer of the Year during the foundations annual dinner on April 27. Because he couldn't attend the dinner, the Cumberland Health Care Foundation's managing director, Gwen Kerr, went to the Woo's Kitchen restaurant yesterday to present the award to Peter, who was joined by his mom and dad, Sherry and Bill. Also attending the presentation was the chair of the foundation, Diana Bacon, and volunteer coordinator with the Cumberland Health Authority, Maryanne Jackson.

AMHERST - Whether it's schoolwork, volunteer work or working at his parent's restaurant, Peter Woo is always on the go.

"He keeps busy because he likes to stay away from the kitchen," said his mom with a laugh.

Peter's mom, Sherry, and father, Bill, were on hand yesterday at Woo's Kitchen restaurant in Amherst as their son was presented with a plaque recognizing him as the Cumberland Health Care Foundation's Volunteer of the Year.

Peter's dad says his son is so busy that they don't get to see much of him.

"He starts at seven in the morning and comes home to bed at midnight."

Peter agrees.

"Do I see my parents at breakfast or lunch? No. At suppertime? Maybe," said Peter.

He started volunteering at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in 2009 when he was in Grade 8 and, now in Grade-12 at Amherst Regional High School, he has accumulated 620 volunteer hours at the centre.

He has also accumulated thousands of hours of volunteer work with countless other organizations and committees.

"You know he's a remarkable volunteer because you can't go anywhere in town without seeing him volunteering," said Gwen Kerr, managing director for the Cumberland Health Care Foundation.

Maryanne Jackson, volunteer coordinator with the Cumberland Health Authority, has worked closely with Peter since he started volunteering with the foundation.

"It's amazing what he's involved in for a person his age," said Jackson. "I've never heard tell of a person his age accomplishing so much during his high school years.

"Without him, volunteer services wouldn't be as successful as it is today," she added. "We've doubled the number of volunteers, and he's taken a leadership role with training and supervising the volunteers.

Woo also works with patients and staff, and Jackson said he's been a lot of fun to work with.

"I'm very proud that I've been able to work with Peter throughout his high school years, and I know he's going to come back some day as a neurosurgeon because he's been saying that since he was in Grade 8."

The CRHCC doesn't have a neurology clinic at the present time but that could change by the time Woo graduates from university.

After graduating from ARHS in June, Woo will study neuroscience at Dalhousie University, with the goal of becoming a brain surgeon.

Asked when he first knew when he wanted to be a doctor, Woo said, "Ever since I was a little kid."

After uttering those words, his proud mom ran off to get a photo of him when he was a little kid.

Woo seemed apprehensive when she ran off and said, "Uh oh, this could get scary."

His mom returns with a framed photo of him in Grade 1.

Around the photo it says, "When I grow up I want to be a doctor."

Woo studied the photo and laughs.

Asked why he volunteers so much, Woo hesitates for a moment, then says, "It just feels good to help other people and to meet people."




Before presenting the plaque to Woo at his parents restaurant, Diana Bacon, the chair of the Cumberland Health Care Foundation, read the same presentation that was read during the foundation dinner. She broke out in tears upon presentation of the award to Woo.

The presentation said:

Volunteer of the Year Award

Each year the Foundation seeks to recognize an outstanding community volunteer both for the Foundation, for healthcare and for the community.  This award is presented to a current volunteer of the Cumberland Health Care Foundation, who has provided outstanding and unselfish volunteer service and who may have also provided such volunteer service to the other agencies, which are in alignment with the mission, vision, and values of the Cumberland Health Care Foundation. 

The recipient this year has balanced school, family, and a family business, with an incredibly active and committed volunteer life. You might say that what this person offers in our community goes far beyond what would be expected of someone in their position.

On April 27th at the Foundation’s Annual Dinner, Peter Woo was awarded the Foundation’s Volunteer of the Year Award, but as you know, he wasn’t able to attend the dinner – he was busy helping the Amherst Regional High School Band win a gold medal at a competition in Boston. It is my pleasure to be able to present this award today with his family here to share in the event.

Peter has supported the Cumberland Health Care Foundation’s Light the Way Campaign since he began his volunteer position at the Information Kiosk at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre in September 2009. He was at that time, a Grade 8 student.

At that time he helped the Foundation by folding and stuffing thousands of envelopes for the campaign. He even went so far as to take them home to work on them.

 Peter also takes part in the Light the Way patient night and the public event by entertaining the patients and guests by dressing up as a holiday mascot – Peter is such a tall fellow he usually has to wear the Gingerbread man costume – the only drawback is that the arms on the costume are really, really short so Peter has very limited use of his arms. 

He also volunteers during his summer vacation and Christmas and March Breaks assisting the Rehab Aide with providing patient programming under the direction of the Occupational Therapy Department.

He assists Maryanne Jackson, the CHA Volunteer Coordinator with training and supervising new volunteers and compiling volunteer hours for over 100 active volunteers.

This is all when he isn’t volunteering at the Information Kiosk each week after school.

Yes, Peter is a full-time high school student too.

He has recruited new volunteers for the hospital by promoting Volunteer Services here at the Amherst Regional High School.

In addition to his school and volunteer work, Peter also works here in his parents’ busy restaurant.

Wait – there’s more.

Peter is an honor student, who plans to study Medicine. He is currently in Grade 12.

Here are some of his High School volunteer activities:

He’s active with the Student Council

He writes the Community News Update for the Viking Voice

He’s on the Entertainment Committee, the Athletics Committee, the Festivals Committee, and the Prom Committee 

He helps organize Welcome Week, Fall Fest, the Winter Carnival, the Spring Fling, and the 30 Hour Famine

He’s involved with the Social Justice group, SADD – Students Against Destructive Decisions (which is the most active SADD group in our county), the Neighborhood Spirit Society and he is a PARTY Facilitator – “Prevent Alcohol Risk-Related Trauma in Youth”

He’s also an ARHS Peer Counselor and a volunteer with the International Exchange Student program.

And, of course, he’s in the band.

AND in the community

He helps with the Spring Street Academy’s annual theatre productions

He belongs to the Amherst Badminton Club and has been in the Tennis program

He helps with the Amherst Red Cross – Door-to-Door Campaign

Was on the Amherst Youth Town Council in 2011 and 2012

And helped with the successful Pink In the Rink Flash mob event

Back to the hospital - Peter began his volunteering position September 18th, 2009. He has logged more than 620 volunteer hours at the Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre.

I am pleased to honor Peter Woo as the 2013 Foundation Volunteer of the Year. 











Organizations: Cumberland Health Care Foundation, Cumberland Regional Health Care Centre, Amherst Regional High School Cumberland Health Authority Dalhousie University

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Recent comments

  • vjallen
    May 10, 2013 - 09:28

    A great story about someone giving so much to the community. Peter, along with the obvious support from his family, is an example of all that is right with the world. Congratulations!