United Way Volunteer Centre celebrated Canada’s 13.3 million volunteers during Volunteer Canada’s National Volunteer Week from April 10 to 16, 2016.
During this week-long celebration of volunteerism, communities pause to thank and recognize their volunteers. To help mark National Volunteer Week, the United Way Volunteer Centre hosted a free celebration on Monday April 11, 2016 at 4:30pm at Memorial Hall, City Hall.
Local agencies were invited to bring their volunteers to this free reception to celebrate volunteerism in our community. Light refreshments were available at the reception.
As part of the event, six recipients selected through a nomination process, received a “Volunteers Grow Community” award in recognition of their significant contribution to community through volunteerism. Winners were announced the first week in April. The awards and event were generously sponsored by Bell and Diamond Hotels.
Organizations and individuals were invited to nominate volunteers who are active in local not-for-profit organizations. These include charities, agencies, hospitals, schools, sports leagues, religious institutions, community centres, research facilities, long-term-care facilities or cultural groups. Nominees can be selected for their outstanding volunteer efforts in coordinating initiatives, organizing events, mentoring or coaching, providing leadership on Boards, committees, or in celebration of an exceptional length of service.
2016 VOLUNTEERS GROW COMMUNITY
Youth Volunteer Award
Awarded to youth under 24 years who have volunteered, during the past year or longer, for a local not-for-profit organization or group.
Jennifer Evans– Nominated by Community Living Kingston and District and Down Syndrome Association of Kingston
Jennifer is a Queen’s University student who began volunteering for Community Living Kingston and District (CLKD) in her first year at Queen’s in 2013, when she was matched to provide friendship to a man with an intellectual and a physical disability through Queen’s Best Buddies program. Through CLKD, Jenn also began volunteering with the Down Syndrome Association of Kingston (DSAK) and Helen Tuft’s Nursery School (HTNS). Jenn volunteers one morning a week at HTNS with children ages 18 months to 4 years with a focus on social, language, and cognitive skills. She also volunteers for DSAK at monthly meetings or community events, and has identified a need for academic support and physical activity opportunities for children involved in this group. This past fall Jenn started a program called Extra Awesome, serving youth in Kingston with exceptionalities. She has recruited volunteers from Queen’s, along with friends to help with all 3 groups. Jenn has continued to increase her volunteer involvement each year, regardless of her busy school schedule. Her passion and amazing, giving spirit inspires others. She exhibits an extraordinary dedication to everything she is involved in and has been a great mentor, initiator and leader.
Volunteer Group Award
Awarded to groups who have volunteered, during the past year or longer, for a local not-for-profit organization or group.
Ongwanada Crescent Group – Nominated by Hotel Dieu Hospital
Each week, for more than 10 years, Leona Sanders and the Ongwanada Crescent Group have gone to Hotel Dieu Hospital to prepare information and education packages for patients having surgery or undergoing testing at the hospital. Ryan McDonald, Dawn McMillan, and Kelly Shannon are inspiring, unique individuals who have some challenges, but with the support and guidance of Leona they are able to be incredibly successful in their volunteer work. This group is a reminder that we all have a contribution to make to our community – it’s just a matter of finding the right fit. In 2015 alone, the Ongwanada Crescent Group contributed to the assembly of more than 22,000 information kits. Since 2004, they have contributed more than 2,800 hours. Ryan, Kelly and Dawn also volunteer their time and talents at other local agencies, each week.
Individual Volunteers (3 Recipients)
Awarded to individuals over 25 years of age, who have volunteered during the past year or longer, for a local not-for-profit organization or group.
Vicky Stacknick – Nominated by Canadian National Institute for the Blind
Vicky has been volunteering with CNIB, in many capacities, for the past 20 years beginning as a volunteer receptionist. Her most recent volunteering includes assisting people who are new to vision loss with learning braille by playing cards and board games. Vicky is also a Volunteer Ambassador for CNIB. She shares her own personal story through speaking engagements, to help raise awareness locally and share information about CNIB services, and educate people about blindness and low vision. Vicky is a wonderful example that having a disability doesn’t prevent you from contributing to the community.
John Poland– Nominated by Lakeside Community Garden
John Poland is the visionary and creator of the Lunch by George Donation Garden located at Lakeside Community Garden. John saw a need for fresh produce for the Lunch By George program that provides free healthy meals, 50 weeks of the year for less advantaged individuals in our community, and created the 110×25 foot vegetable garden to supply the program with fresh, organic, local produce. In 2015, he grew 2,600 lbs of fresh vegetables to feed up to 75 people daily. Excess produce is frozen to use in the winter, and also donated to Loving Spoonful to distribute to other community organization in need of food. In 2014, John also created a butterfly and caterpillar garden to provide habitat for local butterflies, to enhance the beauty of the community garden, and to provide educational opportunities for local school children. John works tirelessly at both gardens and is onsite daily to maintain them and to help and provide inspiration other gardeners with their plots.
Jim Docherty– Nominated by Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario
Jim Docherty has been a member of the Board of Directors with Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario since 2010, and has held the Executive positions of President and Secretary of the Board. Jim came to the organization during a time of turmoil and worked diligently to ensure that it would keep its doors open to continue serving those with epilepsy, and remain viable for years to come. Under his leadership, a new board was constructed and mentored, providing support to the Executive Director for strategies to strengthen the organization. Jim’s insights and extensive background in healthy board function and management have been invaluable. Without his leadership the organization would have ceased to exist. Since 2010, Jim has dedicated immeasurable expertise and time to Epilepsy South Eastern Ontario. His commitment is a testament to his character and generosity.
Family Volunteer Award
Awarded to families (with at least one adult and their family members, including youth under 24 years) who have volunteered, together, during the past year or longer, for a local not-for-profit organization or group.
Bonnie Galloway and Sister Gail Leeder – Nominated by Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox & Addington
Bonnie and Gail have volunteered with Family and Children’s Services of Frontenac, Lennox & Addington (FACS-FLA) since October 2007, and November 2009. They are both artistic and creative, and have filled a unique role by helping children in foster care or who have been adopted, to create Life Book memory albums. Through the Life Books, Bonnie and Gail help children understand their early childhood development, family tree and shared experiences that chronicle their time with family or in foster care. They take great care in their research of each child, finding unique and creative ways to document memories, photos and stories, that piece together the events, memories and special occasions in each child’s life in a way that is special and unique to them. In addition to volunteering with FACS-FLA, Bonnie and Gail volunteer at other community agencies. The sisters enjoy spending time together and do most of their community work together.
2015 Volunteers Grow Community Award Recipients
Volunteer Group (2 awards)
Intergenerational Community Health Volunteers – Nominated by Kingston Community Health Centres
The Intergenerational Community Health Committee is a group of volunteers, mostly seniors in their 80’s and 90’s. They have volunteered in Kingston’s north end community for the past 7 years to provide the Friendship Blooms program. With more than 7,000 volunteer hours, members spend time with children, youth and seniors participating in various programs and activities. Their vision is to bring all ages of the community together in friendship to promote a happy, healthy lifestyle.
The Friendship Blooms program has had a huge impact, the most rewarding of which is helping to create a feeling of belonging in the community.
Knights of Columbus Basketball League – Nominated by Roland Billings
The all-volunteer Knights of Columbus Basketball League has provided opportunities for adult and youth volunteers, and players to work together in a unique sports organization. 100 volunteers provide leadership and mentorship to 500 children between the ages of 8-15 years. Many of the league’s volunteers have continuously contributed their time for 20 years, and several for upwards of 40 years.
These dedicated individuals volunteer as coaches, referees, score keepers and game timers, canteen, clothing and ticket sellers, and as executive committee members. The league provides opportunities for youth to assume leadership roles and develop skills they can take with them into the community, and often contribute back as coaches and officials. The league ensures that children in our community have an opportunity to play basketball for the “Just for the Fun of it.
Individual Volunteers (4 awards)
Rick Farndon – Nominated by Canadian National Institute for the Blind
For 25 years, Rick has been a long-time volunteer with Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), as well as representing the agency at various speaking engagements. He does this with an ongoing commitment to help others who are visually challenged like himself, encouraging them to come to the agency’s programs to learn skills and gain confidence to succeed.
Among his many volunteer positions, Rick was on the CNIB provincial board for 10 years, advocating for clients with low vision or vision loss. For the past 15 years, he has been a dedicated and steadfast facilitator for the New Horizons New Dreams group program. Rick is a natural leader with wonderful coaching techniques that support those newly diagnosed with vision loss empowering them and enabling them to achieve independence.
Maddie Hogan – Nominated by Fairmount Home
Even though she was born with Spina Bifida and is physically confined to an electric wheelchair, Maddie Hogan is very much a free spirit. She is an amazing volunteer with a wonderful smile that lights up everybody’s day. Maddie began volunteering 13 years ago at her mother’s workplace, Rideaucrest. For the past 9 years, since her high school graduation, she has generously volunteered at Fairmount Home.
She volunteers with Bingo, Beauty Break, one-on-one visiting, seasonal events, BBQs, baking, gardening and in the General Store. In 2014, she contributed 800 volunteer hours at Fairmount Home. This year she has already volunteered more than 200 hours of her time.
Darrell Petite – Nominated by St. John Ambulance Loyalist Branch
Since 2005, Darrell has volunteered 5 days a week on a full time basis, dedicating his energy and nearly 16,000 hours to the Volunteer Medical First Responder Unit at St. John Ambulance Loyalist Branch Kingston.
Extremely knowledgeable in all aspects of medical first response training and procedures, Darrell demonstrates a positive, generous and willing spirit as a mentor to the youth and adults who volunteer at the unit. He is a dedicated leader who ensures his unit of 75 members have all the required training, supplies and support needed to deliver effective and professional First Aid coverage at public events throughout the community. Darrell has increased the agency’s services from attending 110 events in 2009 to more than 270 events in 2015. Additionally, he has recruited 37 adult and youth members to meet the increased need for trained Medical First Responder volunteers in the community.
Matt Williams – Nominated by Bereaved Families of Ontario – Kingston Region
Matt began volunteering at Bereaved Families of Ontario in September 2013, following the death of his brother. In this short time, he has contributed more than 1,200 volunteer hours to support the agency. As a member of the Board of Directors, he provides leadership in the role of Vice President. In addition, Matt is the agency’s newsletter editor, and has introduced Facebook and Twitter and taken on the development and maintenance of an interactive website.
Matt is always ready and willing to take the lead and volunteer on projects. He willingly filled in as Program Director during a 6 week leave due to illness and has been involved in many program areas, including co-writing and developing a Children’s Program which is now active at the YMCA.
Special Youth Volunteer Award
Mercedes Augustyn – Nominated by Epilepsy & Seizure Disorder Resource Centre
Mercedes (or Sadie as she is affectionately known), began volunteering in the community at the age of 6. At 13 years, she has already been a volunteer for more than half her life. A few years ago when Sadie learned that she had epilepsy, she became determined to improve her understanding of the condition and do something about it. She asked the Epilepsy Resource Centre if she could join their Board of Directors. When told that she would need to be 18, she began volunteering for the organization in other ways.
In two short years with the agency, Sadie has worked passionately to raise awareness of epilepsy by sharing her story with anyone who will listen. Whether in front of her classmates or 600 attendees at the United Way kick-off breakfast, she is a fearless speaker and exemplary role model, especially for youth. Through her speaking, Sadie has improved community understanding of epilepsy, and has had an impact on bringing epilepsy “out of the shadows”.
2014 Volunteers Grow Community Award Recipients
Local volunteers got the chance to take a well-deserved bow when the United Way Volunteer Centre handed out “Volunteers Grow Community Awards” at a special reception on April 7, 2014, in Memorial Hall, City Hall, Kingston.
Tessa Grant – Nominated by H’art Centre
Tessa has been volunteering for over 2 years with H’art Centre as a classroom teacher assistant. She always creates a positive space, adjusting her communication to fit the needs of her students, who are adults with intellectual disabilities.
Tessa is a youth who takes initiative and learns all that she can from H’art participants. She balances university and work along with her volunteer commitment, and is very dependable. She is a leader in the classroom, and often volunteers beyond her scheduled hours to provide assistance for special projects. She even rearranged her school schedule in order to be a consistent stage coach for her students who performed a play over a series of 8 shows. Tessa has a positive attitude, which is infectious and inspiring to all of those around her. Through her kind heart and gentle spirit, she assists her students at H’art to reach their highest potential through arts and education.
Employee Workplace Volunteer Group
Corus Entertainment – Nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters
For the past 8 years, employees at Corus entertainment have volunteered their personal time with Big Brothers Big Sisters in many roles. They have committed to being in-school mentors for an hour each week for a child during the school year; volunteered on the Board & committees providing an average of 3 hours each per month; organized recreation events; and put together teams and raised pledges for the “Bowl for Kids Sake” event and other fundraisers. Through their volunteer efforts, Corus employees have participated in 80% of the agencies fundraising activities. Their support has helped to heighten awareness, increase volunteer inquiries, and raise the number of children Big Brothers Big Sisters has matched with caring adults for on-going friendship, support and guidance. In addition, Corus actively participates in the community by volunteering their time for many other organizations and events.
The Cormier Family – Nominated by Big Brothers Big Sisters
(Kim Robinson and her three children Madison, Paige and Karter Cormier)
As a single mother, Kim and her three children Madison, Paige and Karter, moved to Kingston a few years ago so Kim could attend school at St. Lawrence College. With the transition to a new community, a very busy schedule, and trying to maintain a family life, Kim sought the services and support of Big Brothers Big Sisters, for her children.
The Cormier family is a shining example of a family volunteering, together. Madison, Paige and Karter have learned through the positive influence and dedication of their mother, what it means to give back. As a family, they volunteer their time at all of the agency’s special events. No job is too big or too small. They flip burgers, wash cars and gather teams and raise pledges for the annual “Bowl for Kids Sake” event. Kim has also taken on the role of being a public spokesperson on TV and radio, to talk about what a difference the agency has made, especially to the lives of her children. As a recent graduate, Kim is now working fulltime in a local lawyer’s office. She and her children continue to volunteer to show their appreciation and give back.
Margaret Baldwin – Nominated by Hospice Lennox & Addington
Margaret began volunteering more than 40 years ago in her community of Napanee when she joined the local Kinettes Club, and still today, serves as Secretary for the organization. She gives her time freely to several other organizations, and currently is a board member and fundraising committee member with Seniors Outreach Services; Secretary for the Retired Teachers of Ontario-Napanee Branch, she delivers the Tales and Tunes for Tots program to community children, she is a Sunday School Teacher at St. Mary Magdalene Church; a volunteer for Lennox & Addington County General Hospital Auxiliary; she sells daffodils for the Canadian Cancer Society, and raises funds for Canadian Diabetes Association.
In addition to all of this, for the past 12 years, Margaret has been Board Chair for Hospice Lennox & Addington. The impact of her work ensures that palliative care and bereavement services are available to those in need. Margaret is compassionate and generous, always putting others needs ahead of her own. She is a true inspiration to others, sharing her many skills and experiences, never asking for anything in return. Margaret volunteers between 60-80 hours a month, and needless to say, she has a heart of gold.
Bill Griffin – Nominated by St. Vincent de Paul
Bill has been volunteering at St. Vincent de Paul Society for the past 6 years. He is a dedicated and committed individual who gives generously of his time to the agency, five days a week. Bill picks up volunteers at the start of the day and provides their transportation home. He also picks up donations and inventory needed for the hot meal program and emergency pantry, offered free of charge to those in need in the community. Bill monitors the facility for needed repairs and safety concerns, often fixing issues as they arise. Among the many responsibilities Bill has taken on as a volunteer, he is a fantastic role model for other volunteers and clients alike. He demonstrates a positive, generous and willing spirit, every single day, acting as a mentor to youth who volunteer at the agency and participate in programs. He is a steadfast and dependable volunteer who is an integral part of the agency’s team. Bill’s devotion, contribution of time and support of St. Vincent de Paul Society is unwavering, and, staff say it would be difficult to run the organization without him.
Tracie Hanna – Nominated by Sexual Assault Centre Kingston
Tracie has been volunteering with Sexual Assault Centre Kingston since 2013. In this short time she has contributed over 1,200 hours of volunteer service to the agency, all while being a single mother of two young girls, and working full-time in cancer research. She is passionate in her volunteer work to provide public education striving towards the prevention of all forms of sexualized violence, and as a front-line support to survivors of sexualized violence. With her compassion and skills, Tracie is an active and non-judgemental listener who provides a safe environment for women in their healing. She accompanies them to police, hospital and court, and has completed specialized intervention training to work on the agency’s crisis and support line. On average, Tracie volunteers on the crisis line, for 7 shifts of 4-6 hours each month. Tracie is a leader and mentor for new volunteers as they shadow her. She also volunteers for the agency’s Funds Development Committee and helps with Bingo.