Volunteer Toronto Honours city's Top Volunteers and Non Profits

Five Volunteers and three Non Profits AWARDED a Volunteer Toronto Legacy Award
Award Winners honored at Volunteer Legacy Awards Ceremony, April 11th 2011

TORONTO, April 13 /CNW/ - In the spirit of National Volunteer Week and International Year of the Volunteer, Volunteer Toronto, a non-profit organization committed to promoting volunteerism, was proud to recognize the city's top volunteers and Community Agencies with the first annual Legacy Awards on April 11th.

The unique awards were given on the basis inspiring tales of dedicated Torontonians, young and old, working at Non Profits and Charities across Toronto.  The individuals honoured have gone above and beyond the call of duty, contributing their valuable time, energy and spirit to helping various organizations in need of assistance.  Three Community Building Awards to Non Profits that have developed exceptional volunteer programs were also given.

Leilani Morales, a Legacy Award Winner, was recognized at the awards event on April 11th at Hart House. In giving the award, presenter Deborah Gardner, Executive Director of Volunteer Toronto commented on Leilani's contributions to the community as a Tutor at Miziwe Biik Aboriginal Employment & Training over the past few years.

"Volunteers are the heart of our communities, they provide the programs, services and support we need not just with their hands, but with their hearts.  Volunteers provide in the present and help us build for the future offering the time, spirit and energy upon which our city is built."

In accepting the award, Leilani said, "It means so much to give back - I love what I do, but I love what it does for others more."

CAMH, recognized for their exceptional Corporate Volunteer Program that pairs community service with service-learning were on hand to accept their award.

"We are honoured to be recognized by Volunteer Toronto," said Christine Burych, Director of Volunteer Resources at CAMH. "Our Corporate Volunteer Program strives to educate, engage and fight stigma and discrimination by making connections between our clients and the business community in Toronto. This Legacy Award is a testament to the work of our team and shows that we are making an impact."

4 other Volunteers from Toronto received an individual Legacy Award:
Bhavik Mistry from Kipling Acres, George Kopulos from the Aphasia Institute, Bruce Schwartzentruber from Hospice Toronto, Betty Olivier from North York Seniors Centre

3 Non Profits from Toronto were also recognized for their commitment to building the legacy of Volunteering in Toronto:
The 519 Community Centre, CAMH and Toronto Cross Cultural Community Services Association

There were 120 people in attendance at the Volunteer Legacy Awards evening organized by Volunteer Toronto. The awards event is the first step in an ongoing effort and commitment by Volunteer Toronto to raise the profile of volunteerism in Toronto and celebrate the efforts of volunteers.

Backgrounder - bios of winners

Bruce Schwartzentruber, Hospice Toronto
After Bruce Schwartzentruber, 65, experienced his own personal loss, his immediate response was that he wanted to give back and help others. He has given 10 years of dedicated volunteer work to Hospice Toronto in a multitude of ways; by sharing his own story, creating networks in the community and using his professional skills to support the HAO Accreditation process to name a few.

Bhavik Mistry, Kipling Acres
Bhavik Mistry, 20, has given 638 hours of service over the course of one year. He is a committed Leader of the Youth Council and works to create a meaningful volunteer experience for youth. He has been involved in fundraising as well as supporting the seniors of the agency.

George Kopulos, Aphasia Institute
George Kopulos has been with the Aphasia Institute for 3 1/2 years. As a volunteer with the Conversation Facilitation Program, he has a real commitment to help people communicate through the challenges they must manage. He is described as a natural mentor and as someone who can see beyond the limitations of words, through to the individual.

Betty Olivier, North York Seniors Centre
Betty Oliver, 92, has been volunteering with the North York Seniors Centre for the last 18 years. She has embodied her values of commitment, kindness and integrity through her activities as a Friendly Visitor, Coordinator of the Diner's Club program and Chairperson of the Travel Committee.

Leilani G. Morales, Miziwe Biik Employment and Training
Leilani G. Morales is a tutor to adult learners who are working to get their secondary School diploma. She honors the courage and commitment of these learners by providing one-on-one tutoring in an effective and encouraging manner. She is described as an outstanding and gifted teacher.

The 519 Community Centre
The 519 Community Centre has worked tirelessly to improve the circumstances of LGBTTIQQ2SA persons in Toronto and nowhere is this more evident than in their Volunteer Program. Serving a diverse clientele, the 519 model of volunteer-lead programming is an exceptional example of community-first practice.

CAMH Corporate Volunteer Program
Through its Corporate Volunteer Program, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health provides excellent opportunities for corporations and employees to give back to the community while engaging in service-learning.

Toronto Cross Cultural Community Services Association
Serving a diverse population, the Toronto Cross Cultural Community Services Association engages a variety of individuals in a broad range of volunteer roles. This thriving volunteer program provides high-demand services to a large number of Torontonians year-round.

SOURCE Volunteer Toronto

For further information:

Media Contact:
Jessica Reynolds, Volunteer Toronto
416-961-6888 x 225

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Volunteer Toronto

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