Outstanding volunteers of 2018 showcased at Volunteer MBC’s Peel Cares Celebration on International Volunteer Day

[Brampton] Volunteer MBC held its annual celebration of International Volunteer Day, Wednesday, December 5th, featuring its new Volunteer of the Year Awards for Mississauga, Brampton, and Caledon, recognizing three top volunteers and 22 other outstanding nominees with certificates and gratitude.

2018 Volunteer of the Year for Brampton Vishal Shrivastava with Volunteer MBC President Sandy Lewis
2018 Volunteer of the Year for Brampton Vishal Shrivastava with Volunteer MBC President Sandy Lewis

“Volunteer MBC just reached a 10-year milestone in serving Peel region,” Executive Director Carine Strong observed, adding, “It seemed highly appropriate that we introduce a unique annual award to recognize a truly outstanding volunteer in each municipality. Thanks to award sponsorship by the Mississauga-Cooksville Lions Club, board member Jim Waechter, and the Rotary Club of Bolton, these awards became possible. The response by our member organizations through their nominations gives us every confidence that Peel has a cross-section of volunteers of unsurpassed quality and dedication, who are engaged in a broad spectrum of community service. Our Peel Cares Celebration was a perfect setting for bringing these volunteers into the spotlight.”
Non-profit organizations had each nominated one volunteer as their own Volunteer of the Year, and then the Judging Committee–a panel of experienced leaders in the local voluntary sector–evaluated each nomination based upon hours contributed and the impact to the organization internally and in terms of community benefit in 2018. Nominees each contributed hundreds of hours of service, remarkable levels of effort and even specialized skills.

Volunteer MBC Executive Director Carine Strong with 2018 Volunteer of the Year for Caledon Sarah Spagnol
Volunteer MBC Executive Director Carine Strong with 2018 Volunteer of the Year for Caledon Sarah Spagnol

Caledon’s recipient, Sarah Spagnol, while in her final year of university, put together a gala fundraiser for Victory House, a fairly new community service organization that operates a supportive home for women. She accomplished this inside of just three months, heading a committee of 20. The event saw 168 in attendance, raised over $50,000, and secured major supporters to subsequently renovate and fund the charity’s physical facilities.

2018 Volunteer of the Year for Mississauga Maduba Ahmad with Mississauga-Cooksville Lions Club reps Shaminda Perera and Khalilah Campbell
2018 Volunteer of the Year for Mississauga Maduba Ahmad with Mississauga-Cooksville Lions Club reps Shaminda Perera and Khalilah Campbell

Another deserving Volunteer of the Year was Maduba Ahmad in Mississauga, who achieved wonders for MuslimFest-Festive Currents, one of the largest cultural festivals, held annually at Celebration Square. In her capacity as Sponsorship and Grants Officer, improved organizational and financial governance and attracted over $300,000 in support for the 2018 event. Her efforts supported promoting diversity, heritage and intercultural dialogue.

It turned out that in Brampton, Volunteer MBC’s very own Vishal Shrivastava was the Judging Committee’s selection. He began volunteering with the volunteer centre as part of its referral team, matching volunteers to suitable opportunities, and later used his IT expertise to manage significant analysis and enhancement of the organization’s IT systems from concept to execution, particularly its customer relationship management system.

The reception included formal greetings by Gagan Sikand (MP, Mississauga-Streetsville) and Ontario’s Minister of Community Safety and Correctional Services, Sylvia Jones (MPP, Dufferin-Caledon), who was present with her message, “Thank you for your years of contributing to our community by encouraging and training volunteers to support local organizations”.

2018 Volunteer of the Year Nominees from across Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon recognized at 2018 Peel Cares
2018 Volunteer of the Year Nominees from across Mississauga, Brampton and Caledon recognized at 2018 Peel Cares

The reception included a silent auction and online auction, with funds raised matched by Scotiabank. Proceeds supported Volunteer MBC’s community outreach program, Ovation, an initiative that will expand volunteering among residents over 55 years old through raising awareness, training, and support by a core team of volunteer ambassadors. The program is designed to address social isolation, which has been shown to be a major community health issue, especially for older adults.