Andréanne Coutaller, Volunteer Relations Coordinator for the Défi sportif AlterGo, spoke with Yuval Hananayev, a volunteer who is very, very close to our mascot WalterGo, if you know what we mean…! Learn about the involvement, fears and accomplishments of a committed volunteer.
Andréanne: Hello Yuval! How long have you been volunteering for the Défi sportif AlterGo?
Yuval: I’m not counting the years anymore and I’m going to stay forever! No kidding, I remember I got a 5 year plaque, so I’ve been with you for at least 5 years!
Andréanne: 5 years of being WalterGo’s very, very close agent! How did you hear about the Défi sportif AlterGo?
Yuval: It was through one of your partnerships. I was working at TD Bank, which is one of the partners of the event. They were recruiting volunteers, so I thought, “Why not contribute?” Since then, I’ve changed jobs several times, but one thing that hasn’t changed is that I come back to the Défi sportif AlterGo every year. Congratulations on your great partnerships, by the way.
Andréanne: Thank you! I often notice this with Défi sportif AlterGo volunteers; even if jobs change or where you live changes, you are ambassadors and you follow us! You become spokespersons for the Défi wherever you go.
Yuval: Absolutely, because the things we experience here with the athletes, with the other volunteers, with you, the organizers, we can’t just keep it to ourselves. We absolutely have to share this. I encouraged several people to come and they too caught the bug. We always come back!
Andréanne: If I take you back to the first time you volunteered for the event, did you have any fears? Any apprehensions?
Yuval: For sure. The first one being that I had never been in contact, before the Défi, with people who have functional limitations. I was afraid of not knowing what to say, what to do, what not to do. The training courses I received helped a lot. I also encourage future volunteers to ask questions. I think that’s the only way to know, is to do it and ask questions. People will tell you. With the support of the organizers and leaders, these are apprehensions that will quickly disappear and be replaced by love. The young – and not so young – are just happy to see us. Everyone is very appreciative of our contribution as volunteers.
You can also be afraid of being useless, of being an extra, and then going home not feeling like you’ve accomplished anything. My response to that is that there is at least one person for whom you can make a difference. If you make a difference in the life of just one athlete, then you have accomplished something extraordinary. That’s what keeps me coming back every year. That I can make a difference in the life of not just one athlete, but many at a time. If you volunteer at the Défi sportif AlterGo, you will make an impact, I promise you.
Andréanne: I have chills! After 2 years, we heard a lot of “We can’t wait to get back”. The senior volunteers missed it. What are you looking forward to this year?
Yuval: I don’t know about you, Andréanne, but for me, my emotions these last 2 years, I often live them through Netflix, watching series and movies. I work at home too, so there is little contact. What I’m looking forward to is authentic emotions. Tears of joy, tears of “I finished fourth”. These are emotions and learnings for those who experience them. I am extremely excited to witness real emotions, authentic emotions and be a part of important moments in people’s lives.
Andréanne : Thank you very much, Yuval!
Would you like to experience all these thrills too? To join the Défi sportif AlterGo as a volunteer, click on the button below.