The City of St. John’s values the contributions of its volunteers and the impact that they have on the community as a whole.
2017 Building Healthy Communities Volunteer Award
The Building Healthy Communities Volunteer Award recognizes individuals or groups who have volunteered their time to promote recreation and leisure opportunities within the City of St. John’s. These opportunities enhance the community and increase the quality of life for residents.
The winner will be recognized at the City of St. John’s Annual Volunteer Reception on April 6, 2017.
City Staff: Active Volunteers
Nearly half of Newfoundland and Labradorians volunteer, and City staff are no exception. Meet some dedicated City volunteer employees who give their time and talent to make a difference.
|Leon Organ is an employee in the City’s Department of Public Works. As the Sports Field Maintenance supervisor with the Division of Parks and Open Spaces Leon spends much of a typical work day outdoors, but this is nothing new for him.
“I love being active and spending time with friends who enjoy the same things I do, and most of my interests take me outside,” says Leon.
Leon has volunteered with Bicycle Newfoundland Labrador for 15 years, serving nine of those as president. He also served 11 years with the Newfoundland Trailways Association as secretary/treasurer and six years as the Team Manager of the Cycling Team for the Canada Summer Games. In the winter months, you’ll find Leon as a first responder volunteer with the Canadian Ski Patrol.
“I have a need to be productive and I don’t want to waste my time, plus I love knowing that I am making a difference even if it is only a small difference,” Leon explains.
|Sandy Abbott works with the Non-Profit Housing Division within the Department of Community Services. Sandy has a soft spot for some of the most vulnerable creatures in our lives – homeless animals.
“I am proud to call myself an animal rescuer,” says Sandy. “I periodically volunteer with Beagle Paws by fostering beagles and I’ve spent many hours helping to search for lost dogs. When possible, I also help fundraise for Beagle Paws, Heavenly Creatures and the SPCA.”
Over the past 15 years of fostering, a few beagles in particular touched Sandy’s heart. She’s adopted four animals through Beagle Paws including Willow and Charlie, two that are still with her today.
“I adopted Charlie at the age of 11 months and Willow at three years; they are both four years old now,” recounts Sandy. “Charlie had been kept tied on outside from the time he was six months old, and Willow lived in a cage her whole life; she had never been inside a house until I brought her home.
“Adopting a pet is a lifelong commitment and you will need lots of patience, but if you ever have the opportunity to rescue an animal, I can promise you it is one of the most rewarding experiences ever,” says Sandy. “They show such love and gratitude in return for being in a warm, loving environment.”
|David Day is the City’s Manager of Emergency Preparedness and Business Continuity. He came to the City with 25 years of volunteer experience that was well suited to this position.
“When I was 19-years-old I joined Rovers Search and Rescue as the skills I’d acquired through my years in the Scouting movement were pretty transferable to ground search and rescue – plus I had lots of time on my hands and a desire to contribute to the community,” explains David.
“Once with the team I learned it was a good fit for me; I enjoyed the work, the comradery is excellent and the additional skills and life experiences have been positive both to me as an individual and in my professional development.
“I have made life long friends through Rovers Search and Rescue, received training in a variety of skills and capabilities and have been part of a team that has helped many families, whether it’s been to bring a lost loved one home or to bring closure to a incident,” reflects David.
|Roshni Antony is a Human Resources Advisor with the Department of Corporate Services and for the past few years has been volunteering with organizations she is interested in both personally and professionally.
“I have been volunteering with the Multicultural Women’s Organization of Newfoundland and Labrador as a member of the Board of Directors for a couple of years,” says Roshni. “As a woman from a diverse cultural background I feel I have a lot to contribute to help and advise newcomers and other women from other cultural backgrounds.
“As an HR professional, I am keen to see the profession grow and to help guide those in this career field to execute their duties in a proficient manner. The Human Resources Professionals of Newfoundland and Labrador aims to do just that and I’ve been volunteering with them for a couple of years on the committee level and recently have joined their Board of Directors,” she says.
“The youth are our future and I believe their spiritual strength is as important as mental and physical strength, so I’ve recently begun volunteering as a youth leader with the Salt and Light youth group of St. Teresa’s Parish,” says Roshni. “Building community is an important part of growing up and the Salt and Light group helps young adults be part of their community while also building on their faith.”
2016 Building Healthy Communities Volunteer Recognition Award Winners
The Building Healthy Communities award is presented annually to an individual or group in St. John’s who are helping to create vibrant communities and enhance the quality of life for citizens through delivering leisure programs and services. This year three Building Healthy Communities awards were presented to recipients: Yvonne Steiner, Robyn Evans and Mark Delaney, and the Royal St. John’s Regatta Committee.
Although a mother of seven children, and grandmother to 15, for more than 30 years Yvonne Steiner has made the time to volunteer as Moderator of The St. Pat’s Dancer. Yvonne and her late husband Jeff took over the St. Pat’s Dancers when the group faced the risk that the longest running (85 years) Atlantic Canada dance group would come to an end. After Jeff’s passing Yvonne continued with the dancers supervising and organizing their practices, performances and travel with the philosophy that any child who wants to dance gets to dance despite family financial situation. So many children have benefited from Yvonne’s dedication. The St. Pat’s Dancers regularly perform at nursing homes, take part in many fundraisers including the Janeway Telethon, and through Yvonne’s dedicated were given the opportunity to perform at the Canadian Embassy in Ireland on Canada Day.
Robyn Evans and Mark Delaney
Robyn Evans and Mark Delaney have for the past six years, volunteered their time to the youth of Holy Cross Junior High basketball teams; teams that would not exist without these incredible volunteers. They spend countless hours with the two teams they coach, practicing and attending games with two teams and are giving opportunities to teenagers that would likely not make sports teams in other schools as by their standards, all who try out for the basketball teams will get to play. By this selection process, they are giving teenagers the opportunity to play sports rather than play on the streets. Aside from coaching the team they also fundraise so every team member can attend all tournaments in full uniform without posing a financial hardship on any family. The impact they have on youth is demonstrated in part by former students returning to volunteer their time with the teams.
The Royal St. John’s Regatta Committee
The Royal St. John’s Regatta Committee has successfully run the oldest continuing sporting event in North America for almost 200 years. The Regatta Committee is 50 individuals who have been involved with the sport for many years. In 2015 the Regatta Committee’s Chevron ‘Learn to Row’ Fixed Seat Program had 12 new youth squirt teams; each consisting of six rowers. This number is projected to increase this coming season with efforts to engage more youth. The Regatta Committee has kept alive this historic sporting event which attracts spectators/tourists worldwide and provide the community with the opportunity to participate in sport, encourage team involvement and promote active living.
The Alice Noseworthy Memorial Senior Volunteer of the Year award, donated eleven years ago by Alice’s family, recognizes outstanding volunteerism with the City of St. John’s Seniors Outreach Program. This year’s recipient is Joan O’Leary.
2016 Building Healthy Communities at Memorial
The Building Healthy Communities at Memorial volunteer recognition award is new and recognizes individuals or groups who promote recreation and leisure opportunities within the Memorial University St. John’s campus. The inaugural recipient of this award is the School of Human Kinetics and Recreation Society.
The School of Human Kinetics and Recreation Society
The School of Human Kinetics and Recreation Society at Memorial University is a group of students within the faculty who promote health, wellness, and inclusion; often focusing on sports and/or active living. Some of the charities they assist include Ronald McDonald House, CIBC Run for the Cure, Operation Christmas Child, Relay for Life, and the R.E.A.L. program. They not only fundraise for charity but also actively volunteer their time with them. Over the past year the society has made a donation and participated in the Red Shoe Crew Walk in support of the Ronald McDonald House, and cooked meals for families residing there. They’ve raised funds and participated in the CIBC Run for the Cure and Relay for life. They’ve filled 25 shoe boxes for Operation Christmas Child, and donated sports equipment to the R.E.A.L. program which provides children the opportunity to participate in recreational activities.