On June 16th, The 2015 Ontario Volunteer Service Awards were handed out in Toronto, which recognizes individual volunteers for continuous years of commitment and dedicated service to an organization.
This year both my wife and I received an award for 15-years of volunteering with an organization call Jewish Family and Child Services (JF&CS).
Jewish Family & Child supports the healthy development of individuals, children, families, and communities through prevention, protection, counselling, education and advocacy services, within the context of Jewish values.
Their priority areas are;
1. Increasing Safety and Security
2. Reducing the Effects of Poverty
3. Improving Mental Health and Wellness
My wife and I became volunteers in the Big Brothers / Big Sisters program to assist the JF&CS staff with the planning and coordinating over events for the programs’ participants and volunteers. Over the past 15 years we have met a lot of incredible volunteers and incredible children who have grown up to be amazing young adults.
None of this would have been possible without the hard work and support of Andrea Pines, the Volunteer Coordinator for Big Brothers / Big Sisters.
We also try to model what it means to be a good person to our children and I recall a picture being published of our oldest boy – at probably 3 months old – strapped to my wife in a child carrier and the 3 of us set off to an event. We try to include all of our kids in the event planning as well as at the event so they will understand that giving their time might seem like such a small gesture, but to some people it means a lot.
Obviously we do this for the organization, and not for the recognition, and I’m hesitant to publish this except I hope down the road, my kids will be able to read this and realize that volunteering is important and that it’s been a part of their lives since they were born (and their Dad expects them to continue doing it!!)
The awards ceremony is a lovely ceremony where volunteers are presented with stylized trillium pins and personalized certificates.