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Volunteering a priority for student, competitive golfer

Isaac Lennox is isolating at home for the time-being, but says his dedication to Algoma Residential Community Hospice hasn't faded
Issac Lennox is pictured in his LSSU roster photo.

Despite having what most people would consider a jam-packed schedule, Isaac Lennox has always made time to serve his community. 

The Lake Superior State University student is currently majoring in Kinesiology, with minors in Biology and Biochemistry, is a member of the men’s golf team, works 5-10 hours a week as a server, worked as an Assistant hockey coach for the Korah Collegiate hockey team for the past two seasons, and tries to volunteer his time every week at ARCH Hospice.

“As a student-athlete, balancing academics and athletics is always a challenge, but it can be manageable as long as I stay organized and I’m always aware of what the upcoming days or weeks have in store for me,” said the 21-year-old. 

Before Lake Superior State University (LSSU) suspended face-to-face interaction, and the NCAA cancelled the athletic season, he was attending class for 20 hours each week. He averages roughly 35 hours of homework and study time per week. 

In a typical week, Lennox dedicates around 55-60 hours a week to academics, 10 hours a week to golf-related training, five to 10 hours working a part time job, and a four-hour volunteer shift.

“It is a busy schedule during the academic year, but I’m able to cope with it as long as I avoid overlaps in my schedule, and avoid procrastinating when I get home so I can still get a reasonable amount of sleep,” he said. 

As much as his schedule allows him, Lennox tries to find as much time as possible for volunteering at ARCH as a palliative care volunteer. 

“I started volunteering there for a few reasons,” he said. “My grandfather passed away at ARCH in November of 2008 when it had just recently opened, and I didn’t understand the significance of a hospice at such a young age. As I got older, I realized how much ARCH relies on the community for support. ARCH is only partially government-funded and relies on support from 100+ volunteers, and I realized that I wanted to be a part of this. I wanted to be able to support other residents and their families through end of life care, like others were able to do to support my family.”

Since beginning to volunteer at ARCH in 2018, Lennox has had a number of positive experiences. 

“I’ve learned that it takes a special person to work at ARCH, and I’ve met some wonderful staff and volunteers throughout my time. Everyone is so personable and has provided me with great advice on future career and life choices,” he said. 

Lennox says that the part he enjoys the most is being able to have an influence on the lives of residents and their families that are in need of positivity. Whether it is physically attending to the family by gathering supplies, food etc., or just being someone to talk to about anything. He understands the importance of bringing light to someone in a time of darkness or uncertainty. 

“I love being a part of the family at ARCH and feel that I am giving back to the community every time that I am there,” he said. 

Right now, Lennox is isolating at home with family, and finishing up his junior year at LSSU online. He says that his online classes are just as time-consuming as they were prior to the pandemic, so it is still keeping him very busy. 

“It is pretty unfortunate that I am not able to volunteer at ARCH during this time. Before realizing how severe this virus was becoming, I thought initially that LSSU was closing due to precautionary reasons, and I thought that I would have a more flexible schedule to do things such as go to the gym more, or volunteer more,” he said. “Although it is unfortunate, I understand why volunteers have been restricted during this time. To fight this virus, social distancing is a must if we wish to flatten the curve.”

“I think that our community has done a great job so far showing support to local businesses that are still open and by maintaining social distancing. We cannot thank our healthcare workers and other essential workers in the Algoma region enough for what they’ve done so far. We are so fortunate. I think we need to try to remain patient with an optimistic outlook on our future and hopefully good news will come as long as we stay disciplined to our orders from the government.”