Sam Sotiris Psycharis
"From a young age, I began playing classical guitar for patients and families at the Montreal Neurological Institute. The guitar gave me a platform to initiate dialogue and offer comforting words or an attentive ear. I distinctly remember the first time someone cried to my music. The man, in early stages of recovery from brain surgery, was deeply moved by an otherwise pleasant tune that triggered memories he thought were long since forgotten. My brief discussion with him, was but one of a series of meaningful moments I experienced during my volunteer shifts that taught me timeless lessons about life and our humanity. I have since continued to spread the gift of music and volunteer at various hospital wards, from palliative care to geriatrics, interacting with people of all life-stages, from those facing the uncertainty of death in the ICU to newborn babies and their mothers. By putting ourselves in these types of situations and offering support to people during some of their most vulnerable moments, we can all learn and gain perspective on what connects us. I recommend everyone to volunteer at a hospital at least once regardless of your age or walk of life."