We are delighted to honour the following individuals with the 2009 Volunteer Spirit Award. This year, each of our eight chapters and our national office selected the volunteer that they wished to honour for having demonstrated excellence in volunteer service, along with exemplary dedication and commitment to our mission to bring hope, strength and joy to children.
The Volunteer Spirit Award is intended to honour individuals who best exemplify, over time, the spirit of what Make-A-Wish is all about – our Wish children and their families. These amazing people have done just that!
MAKE-A-WISH BC & YUKON
Nominated by: Brooke McAllister, Office and Volunteer Coordinator
Stephanie Chan has been a guiding force on the Make-A-Wish BC & Y Board of Directors for the past four years. In that time, Stephanie’s leadership, networking and passion for our mission has helped guide the chapter to new heights.
Stephanie has represented the chapter on the National Board of Directors for the past three years and helped navigate the Board towards a collaborative model of federated entities. As Chair of the National Board Development Committee, Stephanie has shaped the professionalism of the Board by raising the standards of recruitment, training and evaluation.
Stephanie is an incredible ambassador for our organization – from granting wishes to sharing our stories, Stephanie is a star!
Sarah Van Gilst
MAKE-A-WISH SOUTHERN ALBERTA
Nominated by: Carolyn Gorrill, Manager of Wish Granting
As the Manager of Wish Granting I have known Sarah for approximately five years and feel that she is a deserving candidate for the National Volunteer Spirit Award 2009. Sarah is one of those people who is always there when you need help.
Sarah joined our organization in 2004 and has been a volunteer wish grantor since then, granting over 14 wishes. She demonstrates an incredible compassion and strong dedication in her volunteer role.
Sarah leads by example and I find her enthusiasm and dedication both inspiring and motivating. I believe Sarah exhibits many of the qualities that are essential to our organization.
MAKE-A-WISH NORTHERN ALBERTA
Nominated by: Marta Szylko, Volunteer Coordinator
Carol Yanitski has been with our organization for about a year, but her contributions over the last year have been outstanding. Our chapter knows that we can always count on Carol to help us with anything and everything – from Wish Granting to office work to special events. Carol always calls our office to ensure that we have enough resources and always makes sure that she can fit us into our busy schedule. Carol has been one of our most creative Wish Grantors and has put in a lot of time and energy into the wishes that she worked on. One of the families was so impressed with Carol’s her hard work and dedication that they brought some beautiful flowers for her as well as photos. Our chapter feels that Carol truly deserves the National Volunteer Spirit Award as she always puts in 110% and truly cares about helping us reach our mission.
Nominated by: Kim Tremblay, Wish Coordinator
Cheryl has been one of our valued wish grantors at Make-A-Wish Quebec since January 2008. In that that short time, she has already met with six Wish children and their families. Cheryl has always put in the extra effort needed to try and bond with the Wish child in the short amount of time spent with them during her visits and following up with phone calls. The relationship built between the Wish grantor and the Wish child is important when attempting to personalize the child’s most precious wish.
On one particular visit with a special little five year old girl, Cheryl came to realize that although the child’s wish was to visit Walt Disney World®, she also had a passion for trains. Cheryl contacted a few friends and called in a few favors; this initiative allowed for Roxanne and her family to take a ride on a train sitting up front with the train’s conductor. After their tour, they were treated to a royal brunch courtesy of the Queen Elisabeth hotel. This was a welcomed wish enhancement for Roxanne before her wish came true in Disney® shortly after.
We would like to give Cheryl a ‘special thank you’ for her generous contribution in helping our Wish children!
Photo Caption: Volunteer, Cheryl Brazeau with wish child, Roxanne
MAKE-A-WISH TORONTO AND CENTRAL ONTARIO
Nominated by: Kimberly Hughes, Co-ordinator of Volunteer Services
When discussing this nomination in our office we came up with many amazing volunteer candidates but one stood out above the rest. I would like to take an opportunity to offer a formal nomination for Susan Lott-Bernava. As the Coordinator of Volunteer Services for Make-A-Wish Toronto & Central Ontario, I have known Susan for two and a half years and feel that she is an integral part of our team. The office staff agrees; we love working with her!
Susan has been a dedicated part of the Make-A-Wish team since May 2003. Many staff and volunteers find her creativity and dedication both inspiring and motivating. During her time at Make-A-Wish Toronto & Central Ontario, Susan meets the highest level of professionalism. She has demonstrated her communication abilities in the field while meeting with wish families and speaking to the media. Susan works her magic to get media exposure for her wishes in the Niagara region and has put on an art auction to benefit our cause. Susan has donated her time, efforts and artistic ability to granting wishes for the last six years. One wish that stands out for us is Azaria’s wish for a butterfly playroom where Susan painted a beautiful landscape mural – a perfect addition to the room!
We are so happy to have her as part of the Make-A-Wish Toronto & Central Ontario team. We look forward to the years to come and her continued support.
MAKE-A-WISH SOUTHWESTERN ONTARIO
Nominated by: The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Southwestern Ontario
Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario would like to thank and recognize multi-talented volunteer, Bob Kayser as our Volunteer Spirit Award recipient. Over the past seven years, Bob has been actively involved as a speaker, wish grantor, donor, connector, and fundraising supporter. He is a skilled photographer, capturing the highlights of many of our special events and also creates print materials and slide show presentations to help promote our mission. He advocates for Make-A-Wish in the community and is always thinking of ways to build our support. Over the past two years, Bob has successfully recruited wish granting volunteer teams through his speaking presentations in two of the “outreach” Counties we serve. Through all of his contributions as a volunteer, Bob has shown such professionalism, dedication, enthusiasm and active support. And, as you can see his joy in helping wishes come true - comes from being a kid at heart!
MAKE-A-WISH EASTERN ONTARIO
Nominated by: Mike Wlotzki, Executive Director and Dennis Elliott, Communications and Public Relations Coordinator
Renee Bazinet has been an active Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario volunteer for over eight years now and each year we see her take on more and more responsibilities. During the day, Renee works for the Data Group of Companies as an Executive Assistant directly for Denis Châteauvert (MAWEO Board Member).
Renee plays a key role, and is an active member on all of our major event committees. She excels at securing event sponsorships, prize give-a-way’s and has been instrumental in securing several of our major corporate partners. Because of her help, many advances have been made in our chapter’s efficiency by helping us create templates and critical paths.
Renee shines when she is around Wish children and becomes very emotionally attached, showing that she is indeed a truly compassionate and caring person. For all you do, Renee – THANK YOU from all the staff and volunteers of Make-A-Wish Eastern Ontario.
MAKE-A-WISH ATLANTIC PROVINCES
Nominated by: Board of Directors & Staff of Make-A-Wish Atlantic Provinces
Nancy Lamrock demonstrates everything that a volunteer should be: dedication, consistency, generosity, energy, creativity, funny, and constantly looking for ways to help build our chapter and our mission. The challenges and difficulties faced by our wish children and their families are always uppermost in her mind as she dedicates countless hours to our chapter. For these reasons the Board of Directors and staff of Make-A-Wish Atlantic Provinces have nominated Nancy for the 2009 Volunteer Spirit Award.
For the past two years, Nancy has been our bookkeeper on a voluntary basis, including being in the office every week to keep track of all aspects of our bookkeeping and organizing our financial records for the year-end audit. When required, she communicates on behalf of our chapter with Make-A-Wish Canada on financial matters, such as taking part in training on the funding model, adapting the chart of accounts and completing the setting up of our computerized bookkeeping system. She participates in our annual budget discussions, and liaises with our staff to ensure financial controls are in place and implemented.
Over and above this commitment, however, Nancy finds time to attend our special events as a volunteer, helping to ensure they run smoothly by overseeing the registration of participants, collection and tracking of revenue, banking of deposits, running of raffles and games, etc. She also brings in donations of furniture and equipment for the office, so that we can be more efficiently organized.
Among her many attributes, it is Nancy’s spirit of giving and generous heart that make her an exemplary volunteer. The staff and Board are honoured and delighted to designate Nancy as the recipient of the 2009 Volunteer Spirit Award for Make-A-Wish Atlantic Provinces.
MAKE-A-WISH FOUNDATION OF CANADA
Nominated by: Jovian Collins, Development & Marketing Assistant, on behalf of Make-A-Wish Canada
Make-A-Wish Canada would like to recognize and nominate Paul Huston for his significant contributions to our organization over the past three years.
Paul was a member of the Canada office Board of Directors from 2006 through to 2007. During this time, he demonstrated his passion and dedication for our mission, through his ongoing finance and accounting support and guidance to the staff of the Canada office. One of the architects of the “Funding Model”, whether during his personal or professional time, Paul was always available to answer any and all of our financial queries, even undertaking research when necessary.
In addition to his remarkable work at Make-A-Wish Canada, Paul sits as treasurer on the Make-A-Wish Southwestern Ontario Board of Directors and is an official wish grantor for that chapter. He has also done tremendous work with many other Make-A-Wish chapters across Canada to help set up a comprehensive reporting system – allowing chapters to communicate more effectively. On behalf of Make-A-Wish across the country, we thank Paul for his kindness, patience, and ongoing dedication and support. Thank you, Paul, for everything you have done for the Make-A-Wish family.
“I benefit from knowing that I’m helping make a difference in a child’s life” Paul Huston