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Joan and Elva get awards for doing some really cool stuff

Thursday, April 10, 2014   by: SooToday.com Staff

NEWS RELEASE

ONTARIO GOVERNMENT

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Ontario Government Recognizes Outstanding Volunteers

Ontario is honouring 14 people and four organizations with a June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award, for their commitment to volunteerism and longstanding service to their communities.

The award recognizes dedicated individuals and non-profit organizations that, like the late June Callwood, have made a lasting and meaningful contribution to their communities or have provided significant support to volunteer activities.

This year's recipients include:

  • A volunteer who used her love of music to create one of the largest live music events in northern Ontario.

  • An organization that provides culturally sensitive programs and services to address the needs of Métis people across Ontario.

  • A mother who has raised more than $3 million for research into malignant brain tumours in children and possible treatments.

Recognizing the invaluable contributions of the province's volunteers supports the government's plan to work together as One Ontario, to build a successful, vital province where everyone has the opportunity to connect, contribute and achieve their goals.

QUICK FACTS

  • Late journalist and author June Callwood was one of Canada’s most well-known social activists, founding or co-founding more than 50 Canadian social action organizations.

  • The award is being presented during National Volunteer Week, which runs April 6 to 12.

  • More than six million Ontarians volunteer each year.

  • Other Ontario recognition programs for voluntarism include the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers and the Ontario Volunteer Service Awards.

Fourteen people and four organizations from across Ontario are receiving the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism:

Elva Arnill of Iron Bridge has been organizing the Carnation Campaign in support of the MS Society of Sault Ste. Marie out of her home for over 30 years.

While struggling with MS herself, Elva has raised a total of more than $35,000 for the Sault Ste. Marie MS chapter and engaged and educated a whole community of volunteers around this important cause.

Denise Bebenek of Etobicoke lost her daughter Meagan to a rare brain tumour just before her fifth birthday.

In her daughter's honour, Denise started Meagan's Walk, an annual 5 km walk in support of paediatric brain tumour research.

To date, Meagan's Walk has raised $3.1 million for research leading to a better understanding of the genes that cause malignant brain tumours and possible treatments.

Ian Brumell of Cloyne has volunteered his time and skill for over 30 years to the Cloyne and District Historical Society.

It is due, in large part, to his efforts and dedication as treasurer, fundraiser and even contractor, that the Historical Society has been able to thrive, publishing books on local history, preserving artifacts and documents, and recording the oral histories of the citizens of Cloyne.

Levina Collins of Nipigon is a strong presence in her community, serving at the town council for several years and using her drive and passion to help build a sustainable town by increasing tourism, as well as local economic development opportunities.

Levina serves as a member of the PARO Centre for Women's Enterprise and the Top of Lake Superior Chamber of Commerce, as well as Project Coordinator for the Royal Canadian Legion, working diligently to support seniors, women, people with disabilities and children in her community.

Enci Dhanoosingh of Port Perry volunteers countless hours of her time to support a number of organizations in her community including Community Care Durham, the Port Perry Seniors Club, and the Scugog Shores Museum Village.

A senior herself, Enci volunteers as a driver, helping other seniors get to medical appointments and complete errands such as banking and grocery shopping.

C. Ryan Edgar of Port Perry is a police constable and, for the past 17 years, a volunteer fire fighter for the Scogog Fire Department.

As a member of the Executive Board for Port Perry's Firefighters Association, Ryan has helped raise more than $100,000 for charities such as Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Durham Region Special Olympics, as well as local food drives and community organizations.

Liz Harvey-Foulds of Red Rock is one of the founders and former Artistic Director of the "Live From the Rock Folk Festival."

The festival attracts more than 4,000 visitors to Red Rock each year, helping the town grow as a tourist destination and providing invaluable economic opportunities to the local residents, businesses, as well as other community organizations.

Joan Hnakiuk of Garden River First Nation is an Anishinawbe elder who has spent the last decade volunteering her time and skills making blankets, hats, quilts, mitts and socks for those in need, organizing craft and bake sales to raise funds for her community, and leading cooking programs which teach others -- especially young people -- how to cook and bake healthy, traditional foods.

Esther Kin of Toronto serves as President of the Mothers Association at the Bais Yaakov Elementary School in North York.

Her work and fundraising efforts have resulted in the construction of the school's first library, three new outdoor playgrounds for different age groups, new gym equipment, and a hot meal program which provides 800 nutritious meals to students four days a week.

Jackie Kinder of London is an active member of the Women's Canadian Club, the Canadian Cancer Society, and Childcan -- a charitable organization that assists families of childhood cancer patients.

She also spearheaded a program that provides childhood cancer patients with laptop computers, making it possible for them to communicate with friends and family and keep up with school assignments while receiving treatment.

Corliss Lynch of Scarborough has been a long-time volunteer with the Catholic Children's Aid Society, both as an assistant in the Adoption Department and as a foster parent herself.

One of her most significant contributions is the Life Books program. Life Books offer a way for the story of a child's journey through the foster care system to be captured in stories, photographs and drawings.

Anita McBride of Toronto has volunteered with a number of Toronto organizations such as Gilda's Club and YouthLink where she served on the Board of Directors for seven years with more than two years as President.

While at YouthLink, Anita also backed the programs at the Inner City Drop-In Centre which reaches out to homeless youth, offering them ongoing support and providing basic job and life skills.

Frank Trevisan of Oakville founded the Mississauga Italian Canadian Benevolent Association over 20 years ago to support seniors in his community.

Since then, the organization has constructed a non-profit housing complex for seniors; a community services network which offers seniors personal support services, social and recreational programs and transportation services; and a modern 160-bed long-term care facility.

Bibi Zaman of Scarborough has been dedicated to improving the lives of the women in her community for the past 24 years.

The Canadian Center for Women's Education and Development, which she founded, has helped hundreds of women find work to support themselves and their children, improve their health, break free of substance abuse, and escape domestic violence.

Metis Nation of Ontario of Ottawa provides culturally sensitive services to address the needs of Métis people across the province including healing and wellness services and educational programming.

These projects and programs are run almost entirely on the time and skills of volunteers.

Over the past year alone, Métis Nation of Ontario volunteers contributed over 67,000 hours of time to support the Métis people in Ontario.

Tara "Boom" Houston Children's Foundation of St. Thomas provides critical non-medical financial support to families dealing with the life-threatening illness of a child.

This entirely volunteer-run organization provides families with freedom from the worries of bills and other financial stress, allowing them to focus all of their time and attention on the care and treatment of their children.

Trent Valley Archives of Peterborough works to preserve and promote the historical archives of the area, encourage and support historical research, and raise public awareness about the local history.

The organization is supported by approximately 40 active volunteers who work to ensure that the archives are properly cared for, catalogued, and accessible to all.

Youth and Philanthropy Initiative of Toronto is widely considered to be a leader in philanthropic education for young people.

Through the program, thousands of secondary students acquire hands-on education about the local impact of non-profit organizations and volunteers in their community and as a result, many students have gone on to make volunteering an important part of their own lives.

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