Gloria is an 80 year old Oakville resident that has been volunteering at a local call centre for the past 10 years. Every Monday to Friday, Gloria volunteers from 9 a.m. to noon making calls to housebound seniors, who’s only contact that day will be from Gloria.
I am 87 years old and have very limited mobility although I still manage to live on my own. However, most of my friends are gone now, and my son lives in a different province. I am very much alone most of the time, have very few visitors and often I feel lonely and at times become somewhat depressed. It’s so very hard being on your own. Each day however, I can expect a call from Gloria. She is my link to the outside world; my little “ray of sunshine.” Just knowing she is going to call me cheers me up immensely and gives me something to look forward to. She is always warm and cheerful and compassionate as she understands how lonely I get sometimes. We chat about the little things, but she makes me feel special, that someone out there still cares. I really don’t know what I would do without Gloria in my life.
Bree has lived in the same Oakville neighbourhood for the last 20 years. During this time she started a neighbourhood community program. This includes a monthly newsletter that goes to all neighbouring homes, a monthly social evening, a community garage sale and a number of social events like BBQs and an annual Christmas party.
During this time, through her association, she has lobbied to make her neighbourhood a safer, cleaner community for everyone. The local park sadly needed upgrading on equipment. She rallied her neighbours and together they fundraised enough to get some new equipment.
I have known Bree for the last 10 years, when we first moved to her neighbourhood. Immediately we were welcomed to what turned out to be one of the friendliest places we have ever lived. What is amazing about what Bree has done is that she in a time when neighbours are often strangers, she has given us a chance to get to know one another, and be part of a thriving neighbourhood. I have truly gotten to know my neighbours but more importantly we have created a safe place for the families who live here. Our children play in the streets, ride their bikes and I know that there is always a few pair of watchful eyes. We all share in neighbourhood pride. We all chip in to keep it clean and quite frankly I couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
My nomination is for Jane Doe, who single-handedly created the group Give It All in 2005. Give It All is a not-for-profit organization that helps families who have fallen on hard times through no fault of their own and are in need of support. Jane has helped hundreds of families in the community through donations, visits and kindness. Jane lives and breathes for the Oakville community and would be the right choice for the Seniors Volunteer Award.
It is with pleasure that I nominate Karen Dole for the Individual Volunteer Award. Karen has been an exemplary volunteer at the Oakville Volunteer Group, serving on various committees and boards for many years. Four years ago, she stepped up as chair of the social action committee and transformed this disbanded group into an active group of 15-20 people. The group has contributed to such organizations as Habitat for Humanity, Canadian Cancer Society’s Daffodil Program, as well as local initiatives such as the Oakville Ministries soup kitchen, Oakville Food Bank and Safetyone Oakville.
Don Jones is a major contributor to arts in Oakville. He founded the Halton Youth Orchestra, as well as the Oakville Music Association. As a founding member of the Oakville Symphony Orchestra (OSO), Jones continues to perform at all OSO concerts. Jones and a small group of volunteers were pleased to see their dream become a reality this spring when the Town of Oakville opened Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre. Jones is currently supporting the #LoveArt Project with a junior cello program at James Public School. Twice a week, he meets with young children to teach them cello. Jones has shaped the lives of thousands of students over the past 40 years with his amazing talents and inspiration. I am excited to nominate Don Jones for the Arts Award.
Since 1987, the Daisy Health Volunteer Support Program has provided in-home assistance and emotional support to individuals and family members who are facing a life-threatening illness. Working with family and other health care providers, the program’s 152 volunteers complement and extend Daisy Health’s existing services such as bereavement support groups. Over the last year, Daisy Health volunteers have provided support to 373 family members and offered 13,925 hours of compassionate care. The Daisy Health Volunteer Support Program is without a doubt deserving of the Group Volunteer Award.