Josefine Singh continues to commit her time to Parkdale Cromdale Community League this year we are grateful to have her be one of our Directors at Large. Helping with the front garden, attending meetings, and nursing when she has time, this lady is constantly on the go as a volunteer for many places around the city. She was even friends with Sheila Bowker, our former president and whom our park has been dedicated to. We had the chance to catch up with Josefine through this interview and we hope you'll enjoy her responses below:
Tia: How did you first become involved with the community league?
Josefine: That’s a long time ago when I started to have kids. Actually, I started out in Norwood and then moved to Parkdale in 1981. I moved away shortly for two years and then I came back.
Bryce: Did you go to the grand opening of the building in 1982 then?
J: No, 1981 is when I moved to Parkdale I wasn’t involved. I had my first son in 1982, my daughter was already here and later I started my daughter in ballet. At the league I also started my kids on soccer. All of the soccer and hockey at the time was community driven so when my sons grew a little older, I had four sons, I put them all into soccer and became the soccer director for the league for a time. ( My daughter was already in school so she played school soccer.) I wanted them involved in the community and it connected me to the league in a way as well. When I returned to the community after those two years of being away, I noticed that a bunch of younger people had joined the board and were engaging with the community. It was so lively! These people have such good ideas and excellent knowledge of everything. The only person that I recognized when I got back was Margaret *Laughs* All changed when I got back and the community grew immensely. It felt like all of a sudden Parkdale Cromdale was in the news and we were doing so much - You could barely count it on one hand.
B: You helped out a lot with the front garden revitalization. How do you think it looks?
J: This year it looks perfect. Not 100% perfect because this year I think it is too late to put anything in the last couple flower beds. They are empty except for one flower, which has been photographed, but all in all, I am very impressed because I wasn’t even here to help. All I did was get it ready and then I escaped on holiday. I came back and all the flowers were in! Tamie had said "when you come back you won’t even recognize it” and it was true. Both sides on the west wall are very pretty and they are our showpieces right on your way in through the entrance. It wasn’t always like that but then I believe the front mosaic changed the attitudes of Parkdalians - That the outside of our league could look beautiful and inviting.
B: I see you’ve got on your PCCL Volunteer shirt, what do you find most satisfying about volunteering?
J: I just like things getting done and I don’t like too much talk. I mean everything needs to be talked and signed but I’m just not too big into the negotiating. I do the action thing and I let the people that are good with words negotiate.
T: You are now a director at large with the league board what responsibilities go along with that position?
J: I was that once before when all the young people weren’t here. I’m not certain of all the responsibilities that go with it, but I do know that you are supposed to show up for every board meeting.
T: Which you do!
J: Yes, and you are to help out in any position if you are required. I painted some of the murals and helped with the garden. You do the stuff that needs doing! Funny enough, I had to remind myself how to do everything when we were first started the garden work. That was an interesting process. It’s one of those occasions where when there is a lot of people it makes the work easy. We would even weed the garden in the rain (I was like “we have got to get that weed out!”). I didn’t let it get to me - I put my rubber boots on and my raincoat and was perfectly fine because with the rainfall then all the weeds grow back. Then I went on my holiday.
T: What do you hope the community league will accomplish this year?
J: This year, I hope that Tamie gets the two benches in. Then I hope that the annual Harvest dinner goes well. The food mainly comes from the garden and usually, it is a very nice atmosphere. In fact, last year it was almost 100 people. I imagine because the event is free and the food tastes good, plus everyone makes connections. You connect with neighbours and other members and get to know each other. Actually, since I have been walking so often to water all the plants, all the kids in the neighborhood know me. As I am walking past I would always say hi. At first, they would ask “why are you saying hi?” then I would tell them that “isn’t it nice to say hi.” He said “I don’t know you,” and I was like “I don’t know you either but it’s just nice to say hi.” Now they are like “here comes the granny!” which is good enough for me. I also try to keep them from going on the street.
T: Is there anything else you want people to know about you?
J: I’m a retired person who still nurses. I just work casual, you know, whenever I want. How else can I go off on holidays whenever I feel like it? I’m going to slow down in another year or so because I feel myself slowing down, but of course, the work doesn’t slow down. Anyways I still enjoy it but I want to go on my own terms. I enjoy having the free time.
We appreciate the time Josefine has taken to give us more insight into her life and we know she will be a constant, integral part of our community as the year continues.