Volunteer appreciation night pays tribute to selfless service

Skylar Dale, a student in the online autism studies and developmental services worker program, did an outstanding 90 hours of volunteering this year. “I started volunteering with an organization called Rude Nature, ” said Dale. “It made me realize how much I love gardening and being outdoors.” On April 12 Dale was just one of […]
Photo: Brahim Ait Ouzineb
Semina Lee receiving the Kindness Award posing with Elizabeth Holmes and Leah Grimes from Student Support Services. Lee showed up to volunteering events with the biggest smile on her face.

Skylar Dale, a student in the online autism studies and developmental services worker program, did an outstanding 90 hours of volunteering this year.

“I started volunteering with an organization called Rude Nature, ” said Dale. “It made me realize how much I love gardening and being outdoors.”

On April 12 Dale was just one of many students who took to the stage in Minto Hall in the ACCE building’s lower floor to share their experiences with volunteering at the Student Volunteer Appreciation Night.

The event honours and pay respect to volunteers. It’s an event for which the Volunteer Centre devoted around a hundred hours of preparation.

“This year, the event is of a smaller scale, but just as wonderful,” said Lauren Larocque, events officer. “In previous years, it was a volunteer gala but because of the pandemic we had to scale things back.”

Students, loyal to their volunteering habits, showed up on time. Much to the delight of the volunteer center 570 students volunteered in this year’s activities. Five trophies were handed out to the best achievers:

– The Community Impact Award: Valijeta Nuhijaj for participating in Cleaning the Capital and Buskerfest.

– The Commitment Award: Fabiana Ferraresso for her work for Cleaning the Capital, Take Back the Night and Rockcliffe Park Public School Book Fair.

– The Hard Worker Award: Julian Dubois for participating in Cleaning the Capital, Cleaning the Campus, Postcards for Peace and Winter AC Day 1.

– The Kindness Award: Semina Lee for Cleaning the Capital and Cleaning the Campus events.

– The Enthusiasm Award: Devjapunsada Lokuliyana for Cleaning the Capital, Cleaning the Campus, Buskerfest and Winter AC Day 1.

Attendees at the event enjoyed the tunes from musician TJ Morrison’s guitar. Some of the college’s management team attended to show their appreciation for student volunteers.

TJ Morrison, the Ottawa-born artist, performed intimate acoustic songs. He was kind enough to let the guests request any song.
TJ Morrison, the Ottawa-born artist, performed intimate acoustic songs. He was kind enough to let the guests request any song. Photo credit: Brahim Ait Ouzineb

Ben Bridgstock, student support services director in his speech, shared his personal experience with volunteering. For him, volunteering provided new experiences, friendships, new skills and unexpected opportunities.

“We understand that volunteering is not easy for our students,” Bridgstock said. “So tonight we want to recognize each and every student. They try something new and give back to the community the most valuable of their assets, their time.”

Fabiana Ferraresso, a public relations student, opted for volunteering to connect with more people since she was new to Ottawa. Her favourite volunteering experience was for a book fair in her neighbourhood.

“It helps me feel more connected. It also offers networking opportunities which benefits my program too,” said Ferraresso.

Some of the ladies who run the show are in the photo booth at Minto Hall. Just like the student volunteers, they deserved all the spotlights. Left to Right: Elizabeth Holmes, Rebecca Valerio, Lauren Larocque, Joanne Cairns, Amanda Pickerd.
Just like the student volunteers, the women who ran the volunteer event deserved the spotlight too. In the photo booth in Minto Hall, from left to right: Elizabeth Holmes, Rebecca Valerio, Lauren Larocque, Joanne Cairns, Amanda Pickerd. Photo credit: Brahim Ait Ouzineb

Since their work is a marathon, not a sprint, the volunteer center is seeking a few ways to connect with more students next year.

Elizabeth Holmes, the community engagement officer, and her team will reach out to program coordinators that require volunteer hours. Their main concern is to bring back community projects and link student volunteers to their 80 community partners.

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