Volunteer Spotlight: Tatiana Tomljanovic
Tatiana and Clyde
I found SALI around the time I stopped walking around in a sleepless zombie daze due entirely to being a new mom. My passion is working with at-risk children so I Googled “at-risk kids” and “South Surrey” and up popped this incredible website called SALI. I emailed Keryn and asked if there was any communications or media relations support I could provide SALI with from home. She was so receptive and kind, I knew right away that SALI was something special.
I’ve worked on a number of graphic design and communications projects for SALI (banner stands, donor packages, social media advertising for events), issued press releases, and coordinated on-camera media interviews. For a couple of years I helped administer the social media accounts. This summer my two kids and I worked on the farm, which was an eyeopener for me. We took care of the bunnies, chickens and turkeys Tuesday mornings. Watching my kids run around the farm, talking to the animals was a beautiful thing, and unlike my other work, it was something we could do together. To go from working in front of a screen looking at farm pictures to actually being on the farm and touching, hearing and smelling the animals was visceral. It takes so much time, sweat and effort to keep that place going. I’m in awe of the other animal care volunteers.
I’m a mom of an impossibly loud and imaginative 5-year-old son Tristan, and a kind and precocious three-year-old girl Ella. I’m also a communications professional. I’ve worked in family violence prevention as well as in education and corporate sectors. I recently left my full-time job at a local university to go freelance, which is both terrifying and freeing.
The first time I brought my kids to SALI’s Farm, my son was three years old. Louise the magnificent rooster was walking in circles in the yard and my son, having broken his own leg the previous year, immediately noticed Louise’s bad leg. But he didn’t just notice, he empathized; he identified with Louise. Tristan, normally a loud and rambunctious kid, got down on his knees to Louise’s level, petted him gently, and said quietly, “there, there it’s ok chicken. You’ll be ok.”
I keep having this daydream of winning some huge lotto and having the money to buy a permanent home for SALI’s Farm, which is absurd. Never mind the odds, I don’t even play the lotto. So I’m going to keep spreading the word, telling more people about SALI’s Farm. Maybe the right person–or more likely the right many many people–will make that dream of a new home a reality.