Local volunteers recognized with June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award

Some very important local volunteers have been recognized by the province with the June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism.

Named in memory of late author and journalist June Callwood, the award recognizes the leadership, innovation and contributions of individual volunteers, volunteer administrators and volunteer organizations who have stepped up to help others, support communities, and build a stronger Ontario.  

This year Ontario recognized 14 exceptional individuals and volunteer organizations with the award including the Crisis and Support Volunteers of Sexual Assault Centre Kingston, Kingston and individuals Ida Gavlas of Stella (Amherst Island), and Joan Hazard of Belleville.

Michael Ford, Minister of Citizenship and Multiculturalism extended his congratulations to the recipients saying, “On behalf of all Ontarians, I want to congratulate all the winners being recognized… We are grateful for the tireless work these remarkable Ontarians have done to give back and drive positive change in their communities. May their kindness, dedication and selflessness serve as an inspiration for others to learn from.”

The Sexual Assault Centre (SAC) of Kingston’s volunteer program has over 100 volunteers active at any given time, according to their 2022 Annual Report, which details, “Each of our volunteers brings diverse experience, strength and skill to the Centre and our programming. Our volunteers engage in crisis line work, accompaniment support, public education and outreach. During the 2021-2022 fiscal year, our volunteers spent 12,936 hours of their time ensuring that our Crisis Line and Support program had coverage and that there was always someone there to support survivors when they would call… We continue to grow our volunteer program and have volunteers who are post-secondary students, working professionals, retirees, and come from other community agencies. Volunteers are the reason we can offer our services to survivors, and we are SO thankful to them and their commitment to our program.”

According to the province, through their services in seven different regions across Ontario, SAC Kingston has supported thousands of vulnerable Ontarians since 2021.

Ida Gavlas grew up on Amherst Island and worked for 27 years in administration at the Municipal Office in Stella. She claims she was “Happily Retired until she decided Amherst Island needed a walk-in medical clinic…” According to a release from the provincial government, during the COVID-19 pandemic, she helped establish a mobile flu clinic that grew into monthly wellness clinics that played an important role in supporting the health and well-being of the community.

The Clinic’s website notes that Gavlas has many years of volunteering under her belt, and believes in the motto: “Not what your community can do for you but what you can do for your community”.

Joan Hazard of Belleville was the President of the Avaya Community Volunteers from its inception in 1988 until its closure in 2015. The group was composed of both Bell Canada and Nortel retirees as a social club for its members and a community-oriented club raising thousands of dollars for charitable organizations in the Quinte area. According to the province, she has volunteered for over 50 years to support others in her community. She has helped provide goods to patients at Belleville General Hospital Auxillery and, with the Bell-Nortel Community Volunteers, created a bursary for high school students seeking to study trades.

The June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism is presented each year to up to 20 individuals and/or organizations in recognition of their longstanding volunteer service to their community. The 2023 recipients in the Outstanding Volunteer Award and Excellence in Volunteer Management Award categories have gone above and beyond to support a wide range of causes and made a positive impact on the lives of people in their communities.

The other recipients of the 2023 June Callwood Outstanding Achievement Award for Voluntarism are:

  • Friends of Inspirations Studio, Toronto
  • Angelo Restivo, Stoney Creek
  • Grace Shaw, Whitby
  • Natalie Quinton, Etobicoke
  • John Whitehead, St. Catharines
  • Donna Brown, Thunder Bay
  • Harry Campeau, Tecumseh
  • Doug Clark, London
  • Lloyd George, McKellar
  • Joan Hazard, Belleville
  • Fred Horvath, Newcastle
  • Hazel Khan, Drumbo
  • Sonia Scarcello, Bolton
  • Paul Clark, Pickering

The late June Callwood was a renowned Canadian journalist, author, social activist and Order of Ontario appointee. Throughout her life, she founded and co-founded more than 50 Canadian social action organizations.

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