Monica began her job at RCH not long after arriving in Canada. She remembers the ivy on the walls, a wonderful head nurse and being welcomed at Royal Columbian with open arms. “The hospital was like my home when I arrived,” she says. “People were very pleasant and supportive.”
She soon met Barbara Melhado, a fellow nurse also originally from Jamaica. They became as close as family, with Monica being named Godmother to Barbara’s son Mark. “We’ve been great friends all these years,” says Monica.
After Royal Columbian, Monica went on to teach nursing at the British Columbia Institute of Technology, counselling at-risk youth with Youth Court Services and earning an Honours Degree in Sociology and Communications and a Master’s Degree in Women’s Studies from Simon Fraser University (SFU).
Monica’s passion for education remains strong. These days, she’s learning Italian and taking more courses at SFU. She also subscribes to the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra and the Vancouver Opera, is a member of the Vancouver Recital Society, and sings with the choir of a nearby community centre. “I fill my life with as many experiences and make as many connections as I can,” says Monica. Many of these activities she enjoys with her friend of 30-years, Domenico Sciortino.
It was her experience at RCH that inspired a gift in her Will to Royal Columbian Hospital Foundation. “I thought of Royal Columbian Hospital because it was so welcoming to me when I first arrived in Canada,” Monica states. “It has meant so much to me.”
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