Community Builder – Michael Baird a lunchtime ‘buddy’ at Clarington Secondary School
Michael Baird has been a longtime supporter of the Lunch Buddies program at Clarington Secondary School, which matches peer mentors to individuals with special needs. He created the Woodland Homes Golf Classic, a fundraising golf tournament that has donated thousands to local charities over the last few years.
Q: What do you enjoy most about your community?
A: It’s wonderful, I’m originally from Toronto. I have two boys, who are now 23 and 26, one is a teacher, the other is currently finishing his post-secondary education in Europe. We raised both of the boys within the Courtice community. We have enjoyed so many activities within our region. It’s a nice little pocket in Courtice and we get to venture off to bigger things.
Q: How did you get involved in volunteering?
A: I started much of my volunteering about 14 years ago. I began by getting involved in many other activities with the YMCA after that. We started the Oshawa Santa Claus Parade, I was on the YMCA Advisory Committee for several years, and I taught a spin class for 10 years. Last year I was given a certificate of Volunteer of Distinction from the organization.
Q: What is the most rewarding aspect about your volunteering?
A: The best part of volunteering is the positive feedback you receive from helping out someone. I truly never expect any accolades from my volunteering but I am so fortunate I am able to help others in different ways. Five years ago myself and Bruce Rutherford began running the Woodland Homes Golf Classic. It takes place every July at Wolf Run Golf Course. It has always been a wonderful success, each year we have been able to raise $10,000, which is donated to local organizations. Recently we took some students from the Clarington Secondary School Lunch Buddies program to the (Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada, Toronto) aquarium and out to lunch with some of the funds we raised.
Q: What words of advice would you give someone looking to get involved in their community?
A: If everybody did a wee bit, wow, what a society we’d have. For me it’s about showing up and getting things done. I believe it is important to volunteer in something that you believe in.
Q: When you’re not volunteering, how do you spend your time?
A: My wife and I are members of Blue Mountain, we bicycle, picnic, kayak, I enjoy riding my motorcycle. Lots of days just getting outside for a great walk or bike ride is a great way to enjoy a fabulous day.