June Callwood Awards: 2012 Recipients
Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
This year 11 people and seven organizations from across the province are being recognized with the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism.
Winston Meyer of Mississauga is a long time United Way supporter and blood donor whose determination to transform the delivery of social services in Peel Region led to the creation of Community Door - a one-stop health and social services centre.
Donna Babcock of Peterborough for 17 years has been running a student breakfast program at Prince of Wales Public School. Thanks to the program, more than 30 students each day are well fed, ready to learn, and gaining lifelong skills for healthy eating.
Frances Bates of Toronto teaches English as a Second Language and has been a passionate advocate for community safety for 33 years. She helps new Canadians learn about the Ontario justice system by taking them to open houses at her local police division and finding speakers from the RCMP and Toronto police to visit her school.
Barbara Bjarneson of Windsor has been involved with the Multicultural Council of Windsor and Essex County since 1955, promoting cultural sensitivity, anti-racism and cultural retention. She is a global village team leader with Habitat for Humanity. She directs eleven teams around the world, in addition to several builds in the Windsor area.
Linda Bruins of Thunder Bay helped establish Evergreen in 2005, a United Way community project aimed at promoting a safer community. She works with youth who are at risk of gang and drug influence, and is also an active volunteer with the PARO Centre, an organization that helps women across Northern Ontario to start, grow or build new business opportunities.
William (Bill) Countryman of Prescott has been a volunteer with the local fire department for almost 60 years. As truck captain, he is on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days of the year. Added up, Bill has given more than half a million hours towards keeping the people of Prescott safe from fires.
Tom Hedican of North Bay is a professional hockey consultant who started Coach4Food in 2005 to benefit the North Bay Food Bank. Tom runs hockey and ringette practices for kids, asking only for a food-bank donation. In 2010 Tom raised 108,000 pounds of food and continues to expand his program across Ontario.
Thiru Thiruchelvam of Toronto is a journalist who founded Tamil's Information, a publication to help the Tamil community and other newcomers to Canada better integrate into their new society. Over the years Thiru has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including the Metro Toronto Police South Asian Consultative Committee, the advisory board of OMNI, and the Ontario Refugee Services Network.
Barbara Stevens-Burns of Sudbury works hard to make sure that Aboriginal people in her community receive as many opportunities as possible for social and personal development. She advocates at many board and committee tables, including the Children's Aid Society and the Urban Aboriginal People's Council.
Christine Taylor of Ottawa inspired and mobilized more than 450 volunteers - many of them students - to provide over 4,000 hours of much needed support to Ottawa's 18 Community Housing buildings. She has also helped other groups such as the Ottawa Food Bank and Let Them Be Kids.
Peter Park of Toronto advocates for social justice for people with intellectual disabilities through an initiative called People First. In 1978 Peter left the institution he was living in and soon after had organized a People First group in Brantford. By 1987 there were 120 People First groups in Ontario. Now there are People First groups all across Canada.
Link to Learning is a lending library and program centre for families raising children with disabilities. The centre offers a tutoring program that helps over 60 students, and other engagement programs such as Reading Rocks!, which challenges kids with disabilities to read at least 100 books a year.
Distress Centres is a front-line suicide prevention and crisis support service agency. Staffed by 600 helpline volunteers around the clock, they respond to approximately 120,000 calls each year. When the City of Toronto launched Crisis Link, Distress Centres became involved as a partner. They also offer face-to-face support to nearly 500 families and individuals who have been affected by suicide or homicide.
St. Paul's L'Amoreaux Centre supports more than 6,000 seniors and people with disabilities by offering more than 100 recreational programs run by more than 500 volunteers. St. Paul's is a collaborative environment, where clients are encouraged to become volunteers and offer their skills to help others achieve a better quality of life.
South Grey Bruce Youth Literacy Council is a mentorship program designed to teach youth life and literacy skills through hands-on experience. Tutors are matched with students who can benefit from their knowledge and experience, helping the students get better grades and a brighter future.
Pelham Cares Inc. supports Pelham and the surrounding area through a variety of community support services. They provide food and supplies to low-income or single parent families, fund sports leagues for kids and offer a volunteer driver service. In one year, their drivers log approximately 25,000 kilometres and 5,000 hours.
The Millbrook Community Garden is a community space, but it's also an outdoor classroom for students looking to learn more about gardening and the principles of sustainability. They run a farmer's market, operate a collective kitchen, and half the food is donated to the Millbrook Food Bank.
Kawartha Lakes Food Source Volunteers distributes nearly $750,000 worth of food and supplies each year, providing for 18 food banks in the region. That includes over 3,000 students in school breakfast and snack programs.