Doris Rusnak

Spreading sunshine with song

Sunshine Club sings their way into the hearts and lives of local seniors

Sometimes music is all it takes to spread a little sunshine.

That’s just what Doris Rusnak wants to do. She started the Sunshine Club more than five years ago to share joy and love with others through the gift of music. The members go once or twice a week to care homes in Agassiz and Chilliwack to sing old-time favourites and lift up the spirits of residents.

“We’re not professionals but we do the best we can,” says Rusnak.

The Sunshine Club singers, who hail from Agassiz and Harrison, dress up for the occasion, complete with flowery hats for the ladies and smart suits for the men. They change the program every month. Just last month, they did a special focus on ‘The Sound of Music’, complete with costumes and even Captain Von Trapp.

At a performance at Cheam Village in Agassiz last Thursday, residents sat watching as the Sunshine Club sang classics like ‘Sing Along Silvery Moon’ and ‘The More We Get Together’. Rusnak invited those that could, to sing along with the printed song lists.

“If you can’t sing, hum. If you can’t hum, clap,” she urged the mostly passive but appreciative audience.

Rusnak explains that they want to share music the residents will recognize, that will make them smile and be happy. Her goal is to spread joy.

“You have to have an attitude of love,” says Rusnak. “You’re bringing love.”

Tracey McDonald couldn’t agree more. She’s the lifestyle program manager at Chartwell Hampton House, a retirement residence in Chilliwack. She reports that the Sunshine Club comes faithfully every month for the birthday party day at Hampton House.

“The residents just love them,” says McDonald. “Their program has evolved into something really special; the residents really connect with them.”

She says you can tell that Rusnak and the others are genuine in their care for the residents and their love for those around them.

Different club members come and go, but each person invests what they can in the group. The Sunshine Club always welcomes new members. While they call themselves a club, it is in fact a group of volunteers. There’s no cost to join and you can give as much or as little time as you are able. To find out more, call Doris Rusnak at 604-796-0442.