How One Woman Helps Cats and Kids in Her Community

Spencer Legace | Toronto

When you think of charity, you probably think of giving money to organizations that help to make the world a better place; more often than not, for people or animals. But there are people out there like Laurie Nichol who choose to help both– through time, passion, and education.

Courtesy: StockVault

Laurie Nichol is a piano teacher in Barrie, Ontario. She and her husband Brent are the parents of two young men, who’ve all lived in the area for over two decades. When Laurie isn’t teaching piano, she’s probably volunteering. Why? Because of a passion for animals, and for giving those animals a voice they wouldn’t otherwise have.

Laurie volunteers her time and the proceeds from her business’s recitals to help rescue animals who need assistance that others just can’t provide. She sees it as a way of giving back.

But yeah, there’s lots of volunteering. To me it is really important, because it’s a way that I can give back to our community. Everything that we do is always local, and even with piano. One of the things we do with my piano businesses, twice every year, we do big recitals. And with those recitals, the one at Christmas, we sold tickets to help raise some funds, and we ended up raising almost $500. So that can make a huge difference with a rescue, you know, rescues in general, they don’t receive funding from the government.

Laurie volunteers for Street Cats, a Barrie-based rescue, and at PetSmart, ensuring each animal finds a good home. She even fosters cats, and has five of her own. One started as a foster, and another was found outside of Barrie’s Kawartha Dairy, in desperate need of compassion. Laurie provided that compassion half a decade ago, and now, Ella the cat is happier than ever in her comfortable home.

Even when teaching music (to humans, mind you,) Laurie goes out of her way to help others. Once a year, Laurie provides a subsidized rate for a student who needs it. If someone is passionate about learning piano, but can’t afford it because of a rough patch in their life, Laurie might just be able to help.

And it really bothered me that if someone really couldn’t afford to take [lessons,] but they wanted to, why? And once again, it’s my way I can give back. I can’t financially give them, you know, $10 million dollars make life better, but what I can do is I can give my time so, I usually keep that pretty quiet. But, it’s just something I do. I don’t look for recognition at all. I’m very, I like to be in the shadows. Yeah, versus in front.

When asked to describe Laurie, her neighbor, Linda Edwards, had nothing but praise:

She is always going out of her way for others and is an inspiration to the people around her to strive to do more.

Despite all she does, Laurie dislikes recognition. Self-described as “a big softy,” Laurie would prefer to help from the shadows, where she can volunteer and make lives better without all the hustle and bustle that comes from the spotlight. So be you an animal or a person, if you need a helping hand, Laurie is there to assist. Not for attention, not for recognition, but just because she can.

Podcast Music Attribution: 

Airport Lounge by Kevin MacLeod

Gymnopedie No. 1 by Kevin MacLeod

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