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Alumni: Giving U of T more reasons to be proud


From volunteering to lifelong health advocacy
All it took for Kathy Sparrow (BPHE 1999) to get involved in volunteerism was to simply look through some newspaper advertisements. Kathy encourages everyone to find at least one opportunity this year.

sparrowKathy in Lesotho, Africa, representing the volunteer team from Habitat for Humanity.

“I just want to make small but valuable impact towards positive change.

Volunteering isn’t always a long-term commitment. Don’t get scared off! Short term activities may be woven into something long term.”

– Kathy Sparrow

Get Involved

Positive change is an cumulative result of all our actions. Don’t be afraid to look around for new opportunities!

Find out more about Special Olympics in Canada and learn where you can volunteer or coach. Learn about volunteering at the Rouge Valley Health System or find opportunities to volunteer at your local hospital or health organization.

About her initiatives

Kathy seeks diverse opportunities to volunteer. Shortly after her undergrad, she volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, working on projects in Africa. After helping out at the 1997 World Winter Games Special Olympics in Toronto, she extended her outreach by coaching a 5-pin bowling team for people aged 12-70 with disabilities. During 15 years of coaching, working with families and the surrounding community, she was able to raise awareness around the capabilities of people with disabilities.

It is Kathy’s passion to see consistent improvement in healthcare for the patients. She is currently a health advocate in her home community of Ajax as a representative on the Community Advisory Group for the Rouge Valley Health System (RVHS). The RVHS promotes patient education and awareness by connecting directors, administrators, and other representatives from local hospitals to improve the healthcare system. Here she experiences the other side of healthcare as a non-patient communicating with hospital administration.

Initially, it was mainly local advertisements such as those from the PhysEd department that inspired Kathy to explore volunteer opportunities. Over time she was able to focus on causes where her contribution had a direct impact on positive change.

Alumni Bio

Kathy Sparrow (BPHE 1999) was raised in Toronto and completed her Bachelors of Physical and Health Education at U of T. She was involved in the yearbook, the student council, and served as class representative of her department. Kathy also enjoyed playing intramural hockey as a student at U of T. During her undergraduate years, she worked at the David MacIntosh Sport Medicine Clinic as a receptionist, which gave her an opportunity to work with a medical team. Kathy later completed a Bachelors of Health Science at McMaster University in Occupational Therapy.

Kathy practices as an Occupational Therapist at Grandview Children’s Centre where she is a supervisor for Occupational Therapy students, including U of T students. One of the highlights of her work was to supervise these students during a working trip to Trinidad. This trip reinforced the importance of healthcare improvements and communication.


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