16th Community Spirit Awards honour Outstanding Volunteers

16th Community Spirit Awards Recipients
16th Community Spirit Awards honour Outstanding Volunteers

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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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Oakville’s best and brightest volunteers were celebrated for their exemplary contributions to the community at the 16th Annual Community Spirit Awards held last night Wednesday, June 7, 2017 at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre.

16th Community Spirit Awards recipients:

Bingo Rivera, Access Award, 16th Annual Community Spirit Awards – sponsored by Access Abilities

For almost a decade, Bingo has been an active volunteer and coach with Special Olympics Ontario (SOO) in Oakville and is currently the coach for both the Track and Field and Basketball clubs. In 2016, Bingo was the lead district team manager for the South Central team attending the SOO Provincial Spring Games. Bingo worked many tireless nights to ensure all athlete and coaching needs were met. The South Central team consisted of over 200 athletes and Oakville made up a large portion of the team.

Bingo was responsible for the mental and physical health of the athletes, as well as coordinating and organizing athletes and their respective coaches. Bingo received the 2016 Coach of the Year Award from Sport Oakville, and will once again represent Oakville at the 2017 games.

William Smith, Arts Award,16th Annual Community Spirit Awards – sponsored by The Oakville Beaver

Since 2012, William has been president of the Oakville Arts Council and is currently in his third term. Prior to this, he held the position of Treasurer and was Board Chair of Celebrate Oakville Festivals, Community Arts Space, the Oakville Community Foundation and the Oakville Waterfront Festival. Bill has also volunteered in the past with the Oakville Soccer Club as assistant coach, and was a leader in Scouts Canada for a decade.

A volunteer in Oakville for 30 years, Bill exemplifies the concept of community spirit by any definition. Using his knowledge, skills, experience and strong ties to the Oakville community, he has worked to enhance the arts and culture, environmental and recreation sectors. He is dedicated to volunteering and approaches leadership in a collaborative way. His skills and aptitude for leadership are valuable assets for the arts and culture community and Oakville as a whole.

The Oakville Rotaract Club, Group Volunteer Award, 16th Annual Community Spirit Awards – sponsored by the Town of Oakville

The Oakville Rotaract Club consists of young adults ages 18 to 30, who create fundraising events to raise money for various causes in the Oakville community. Past fundraisers include the Prom Dress Soccer fundraiser for Kerr Street Mission (KSM), the Yoga for a Cause fundraiser for Oakville Trafalgar Memorial Hospital and a superhero themed soccer tournament fundraiser for Free Them, an organization fighting against human trafficking.

They also assist other service clubs and organizations annually. They deliver meals to seniors, volunteer their time at Fare Share Food Bank and Terry Fox runs, as well as help organize the KSM Mission Play Day that took place in February. These young adults reach out to all demographics in Oakville to make them feel good, important and engaged. They are a shining example of what the community’s bright future will look like.

Mary Davidson, Heritage Award, 16th Annual Community Spirit Awards – sponsored by Genworth Financial Canada

Mary brings the work of the Oakville Historical Society to the Oakville community to keep them up-to-date on the latest news and events. As the publicity person, Mary is responsible for publications, advertising, events and the coordination of many of the activities that shape the society’s public image. In addition, she organizes speakers’ nights and ghost walks, and keeps the members advised of all upcoming events.

Her energy, initiative and sense of responsibility are evident to all who work with her. She never shies away from the most daunting projects and challenges. Despite her busy schedule, she is always ready to volunteer and positively impact the Oakville community.

Jan Tingle, Individual Volunteer Award, 16th Annual Community Spirit Awards – Sponsored by Paradiso Restaurant

Jan epitomizes community spirit in Oakville. A volunteer since 1965, Jan has assisted as a Block Parent; a Cub, Scouts and Guides volunteer; with Syl Apps Youth Centre residents; with her church in various capacities; at the Humane Society as a board member; with Wallace Park Tennis Club on the executive; and as a Peer Support volunteer with Wellspring.

Jan has also reached out to those who, like herself, have been diagnosed with cancer. As a Peer Support volunteer with Wellspring, Jan listens, reassures and offers hope. She also assists with fundraising for Wellspring by soliciting items for silent auctions and helping to plan events. Her hard work has contributed to the success of this organization. A consensus builder, Jan gets things done by motivating others and acting as a role model, pitching in alongside other volunteers and staff.

Peter Lowes, Senior Award, 16th Annual Community Spirit Awards – sponsored by Chartwell Waterford Retirement Residence

As Peter’s family states, “He has been volunteering as long as we can remember.” He has volunteered as a scout leader and as a sailing commodore; and he’s also given his time to the Rotary Club, Arthritis Society, and FIRST Robotics.

In 2012, after attending a robotics competition that his grandson was competing in, Peter found his true volunteer passion with FIRST Robotics. Peter joined his grandson’s high school robotics team as a mentor hoping to learn more about FIRST Robotics and help out with whatever the team needed.

With his extensive business background, the team quickly put Peter to work. Peter decided to start a community team that would be open to all high school students. The Oakville Community FIRST Robotics Team was established in 2015. The team is now in its second year, with 50 students from 13 different high schools. The students on his team respect him and value the life experiences he shares.

Aiza Abid, Youth Award, 16th Annual Community Spirit Awards – sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

From a young age, Aiza has accomplished great things. She founded Aiza’s Teddybear Foundation with the hopes of making young children smile. To date, she has donated over 3,000 stuffed toys to local hospitals and over 2,000 gently used clothes and toys to local homeless shelters. Aiza has also participated in the Oakville Children’s Festival for two years.

Aiza has displayed great leadership all through high school, as she led her school’s ME to WE Club for four years. She was recognized for her efforts when she was presented the Governor General’s Award by Craig Kielberger himself. Aiza is now studying Kinesiology at McMaster University in hopes of pursuing medicine. She continues to demonstrate leadership and compassion by volunteering her time and providing individuals with mobility issues physiotherapy.

Marica Pinnock, Youth Award, 16th Annual Community Spirit Awards – sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

At the age of eight, Marica became a Canadian Caribbean Association of Halton (CCAH) youth volunteer. Today, 16-year-old Marica reaches out to high school youth (with a focus on minorities and newcomers) to enroll them into the CCAH Youth Leadership Program. Since starting high school, she has been responsible for helping youth from across Oakville and Halton qualify for approximately 2,100 high school community service volunteer hours through the CCAH Youth Leadership Program.

Marica was recently awarded the Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award and Scholarship for Youth Achievement, one of only two award recipients in Ontario. Marica demonstrates exceptional spirit in her efforts to conserve the history and legacy of Oakville’s African American community, while opening the doors of opportunity to youth from across all the cultures that represent the vibrant future of Oakville.

“On behalf of Council, I offer all the nominees and award recipients our sincere gratitude for your dedication, for inspiring others with your commitment, and for elevating the entire Oakville community with your spirit,” said Mayor Rob Burton.

Chris Mei, television host of the Weather Network, was the emcee for the 16th Community Spirit Awards, entertaining the audience while sponsors handed out the awards. Each recipient received a one-of-a-kind award created by local illustrator, designer and portrait artist Emily Soden.

Since 2002, Oakville’s Community Spirit Awards have recognized individuals and groups for their outstanding contributions to the community.

Congratulations again to the 16th Community Spirit Awards recipients.

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