February 22, 2021
Get to Know Us: Auvil Orr

Extending love and compassion to the most vulnerable while denouncing anti-Black racism.

Auvil has a history of supporting those in need. Whether it’s a landlord seeking assistance or someone facing discrimination for being HIV positive, Auvil reaches out to help instead of turning them away.

When he immigrated to Canada from Jamaica, Auvil discovered that his education could not be recognized here. Choosing to make a change by turning his passion into his profession, he studied to become a Personal Support Worker. Auvil has been a part of LOFT’s Pine Villa team for the past three years.

“I like all aspects of my job,” he says. “I am fulfilled by assisting people who are often not recognized by society. All they need is love and compassion.” An avid reader, Auvil also enjoys listening to music, and watching television.

Throughout the challenges of COVID-19, Auvil has had to be cautious when supporting his clients. “Before the pandemic, we were able to be more flexible and hands-on,” he explains. “I’ve been so concerned about protecting our clients that I once thought I’d caught the virus. I could swear I felt all the symptoms! I was tested, and the result was negative, but I have learned to pay more attention to the ways in which my own mental health has been impacted.”

Many of LOFT’s clients suffer from mental health challenges, and it can be hard for them to understand the safety restrictions of the pandemic. “If they’re feeling ill, they must isolate. They don’t understand it at first, but they get used to it.”

Part of managing clients is knowing that there are good days and bad days. “At times, people can say things that are hurtful.” Auvil, a Black man, has experienced racist comments while assisting clients.

When a client makes a racist or discriminatory remark, LOFT’s care team takes steps to make it clear that it is not acceptable. As part of the programming and support we offer to clients, we incorporate anti-racism education.

Auvil continues to offer clients the highest standard of care with the support of his colleagues, but makes it clear to them that the words are offensive. For him, Black History Month is a great moment for reflection and understanding.

“It is an opportunity to learn more about how members of the Black community can support each other,” he explains.  “It allows me to consider the culture of Black history. We need to work together in order to make Black history a part of Canadian history.”

LOFT’s Pine Villa program is a supportive transitional care site providing short-term services for older adults who no longer require care in a hospital.