99 and counting…

Maryse Robillard
Maryse Robillard: volunteer extraordinaire, long-time loyal donor, and member of the Emeritus Circle © Photo: Peggy Kileen

Maryse Robillard has been a part of the fabric of the National Arts Centre for over 50 years!  She turns 100 this February, so we thought it would be a good moment to celebrate her as a volunteer extraordinaire, a long-time loyal donor, and a member of the Emeritus Circle.  

Maryse knows all about the joy of giving because it’s played such a meaningful role in her life.  It all began in 1942 when she was just 16 years old and volunteered to write to soldiers during the war.  One of them was her future husband, and when he returned from service they set up house in Ottawa. Maryse worked for a lawyer’s office and for Veterans Affairs until her children were born.  Her husband encouraged her to go out in the evening to attend performances. 

Maryse is quick to say that the most important aspect of her engagement with the National Arts Centre and other community organizations, has been as a volunteer.  

“I started volunteering when my children started school and I had a bit of free time. I wanted to be an active member of my community.”  

She admits to being shy and felt it was a way to challenge herself to connect with people and make new friends. 

“I’d been attending performances for quite a few years, but volunteering made me feel like I was part of the NAC family. I have loved every single minute of it!” 

Maryse is now a great-grandmother. Her giving has also extended to the next generation of the community that has been so much a part of her life.  She felt it was important to leave a gift in her Will to the NAC Foundation, after taking care of her loved ones. Her bequest is designated to the National Youth and Education Trust.  

“I want to help young people who can’t afford access to the wonderful world of the theatre and performing arts.” 

Maryse hopes her story will inspire others to volunteer their time, give what they can today, and consider leaving a legacy of their own. Thank you, Maryse!

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