Outstanding volunteers honoured at 14th Annual Community Spirit Awards

Seven individuals, groups and organizations recognized

Oakville Spirit Award Winners, June 2015
Outstanding volunteers honoured at 14th Annual Community Spirit Awards

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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 14th Annual Community Spirit Awards held last night at Queen Elizabeth Park Community and Cultural Centre.

2015 Community Spirit Award recipients:

Rob McLean, Access Award sponsored by Medi-Chair

Rob McLean has been an active volunteer with Special Olympics Ontario in Oakville for more than 30 years. Special Olympics is an international sport program adapted for athletes with an intellectual disability. With the assistance of his three daughters, Rob has overseen the 10-pin bowling club for many years, which currently has 66 athletes. Rob ensures that the sports are fun for every athlete by teaching them to respect the rules of the game and each other. The sense of community within the club is supportive of the athletes, their families and caregivers and through his leadership, Rob gives every athlete the chance to develop and improve at their own pace.

The Oakville Wind Orchestra, Arts Award sponsored by the Oakville Beaver

The Oakville Wind Orchestra has been contributing to the community spirit in Oakville since its inception in 1866. As Canada’s oldest, operational community concert band, this “town band” has been enhancing the cultural tapestry in Oakville through musical performance, shared love of music, and community partnerships for 149 years. As a registered charitable organization with amateur musicians, the Oakville Wind Orchestra is all about sharing the arts and musical performance with and for the community. The orchestra itself is made up of adult musicians across the generations; from the college students, to the returning musician who has come back to music after raising a family or developing a career, to the retiree. Proudly, they participate each year at the Mayor’s Picnic with the Oakville Historical Society, and give back to the community with their annual Christmas concert at the Oakville Seniors Citizens Residence. The Orchestra contributes to the community spirit of Oakville and enhances access to the arts through their musical performances and demonstrates their commitment to Oakville through their many charitable works.

The Silverhearts Association, Group Volunteer Award sponsored by Whole Foods

The Silverhearts Association is a team of young professionals who dedicate their time and energy to raise awareness of rare cancers specifically sarcoma, and raise funds for further research. In partnership with researchers at McMaster University, Silverhearts works to make a difference in the future of our healthcare system. Founded and led by Alexander Silver and Jacqueline Di Filippo, Silverhearts has hosted three annual Oakville fundraising events for sarcoma research known as the Silverhearts Annual Saturday Socials (SASS). Over the past three years, SASS events have raised $38,000 for sarcoma cancer research.  Silverhearts continues to work tirelessly for the cause of healthcare and cancer care improvement, while simultaneously inspiring the younger generation of Oakville to volunteer their time and effort for the greater good of the community.

Sean Livingston, Heritage Award sponsored by Genworth Financial Canada

As a young man with a strong connection to our veterans and military heritage, Sean Livingston is able to bridge generations to keep the story of Oakville’s involvement in the Second World War alive.  While researching a university paper, Sean came across the story of the HMSC Oakville, a Second World War warship that was adopted and christened by the people of Oakville. His passion for this piece of our history led him to interview veterans and conduct extensive original research. Following the exhibitions and celebrations at the Oakville Museum, Sean continued his research and has just published a scholarly work on the topic. Sean Livingston has a lifelong connection to the naval heritage of Oakville, and a long record of volunteer service. After serving as a cadet in the Royal Canadian Sea Cadets Corps (RSCCC) 178 Oakville, he went on to be a volunteer instructor and officer with the group, and is now the Commanding Officer for this youth organization.

Flavia Ceschin, Individual Volunteer Award sponsored by Paradiso Restaurant

Flavia Ceschin has been a dedicated Acclaim Health Hospice Visiting volunteer since 2012. She visits clients who are faced with life threatening illnesses and provides companionship, emotional support and much needed time for primary caregivers. Beyond this direct support, she has worked to build Oakville’s capacity to support the mental wellbeing of the bereaved through her work on the Advisory Committee for the Acclaim Health Hospice. Flavia founded Heartache to Hope, a Halton based not-for-profit organization that offers free support groups to those who have lost a loved one to suicide. Her impact on clients she has supported has been life-changing. In addition, to being a Hospice visiting volunteer, Flavia has facilitated five of Acclaim Health’s Spousal/Partner Loss Support Groups in the past two years. In these groups, Flavia creates a safe place for people to explore their grief, share their experiences and support one another. Her skill, patience and compassion are key to the success of these groups. Through her caring and giving nature, Flavia is able to provide hope to struggling individuals and families within the Oakville community.

Malcolm McDonald, Senior Award sponsored by Amica at Oakville

Malcolm “Mac” McDonald has been an active member of the Optimist Club of Oakville since 1956. In nearly 60 years of service to the Oakville Club, he has more than embodied their mission: to be a “Friend of Youth” by “Bringing Out the Best in Kids.” Mac has been involved in numerous projects to support, enrich and educate the children and youth of Oakville. His proudest achievement is spearheading the rebuilding of the Halton Police Children’s Safety Village in 1994. He raised funds and obtained donations of materials from local businesses. During the summer of 1994, a new classroom building was constructed and most of the small buildings comprising the Safety Village were rebuilt without any interruption to programing. Almost 10,000 children a year benefit from this program that teaches road safety to children from Kindergarten to Grade 3. For over 50 years Mac has also been an active participant and leader in the Club’s annual Christmas tree sales. In 1981 he initiated the annual “Shrimpfest Gala”. At almost 95 years old, Mac truly embodies and exemplifies the spirit of optimism, and is looking forward to serving Oakville for many more years.

Oakville Trafalgar High School Robotics Team, Youth Award sponsored by RBC Royal Bank

For over a decade the Oakville Trafalgar High School FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Team has been enhancing the understanding and appreciation of Science and Technology for many Oakville students. Through hands-on development of teamwork and technical skills this group of high school students has created and mentored over a dozen Lego and VEXES Robotics teams in local elementary schools all the way to provincial championships. Last year, they created new Lego and VEX Robotic programs for the Town of Oakville. Library Lego at Central and Clearview Public Libraries is a summer demonstration program now delivered regularly through the Oakville Public Library. The efforts of this enthusiastic group of students have opened the eyes of hundreds of young students to the possibilities available to them if they continue to work hard to nurture their skills in science and technology. Working as a member of a Lego or Vex team not only fosters valuable teamwork skills, but gives an enhanced sense of self value and belonging to students who may have difficulty finding it elsewhere.

“On behalf of Council, I congratulate both the nominees and recipients and of the Community Spirit Awards,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “The dedication demonstrated by these community leaders to Oakville is inspiring. Their efforts have contributed towards our goal of being the most livable town in Canada.”

Chris Mei, television host of The Weather Network, was the emcee for the evening, entertaining the audience while sponsors handed out the awards. Each recipient received a one-of-a-kind, intricately crafted ceramic sculpture created by ceramic artist Thomas Suh.

Since 2002, Oakville’s Community Spirit Awards have recognized individuals and groups for their outstanding contributions to the community. For more information about the Oakville Community Spirit Awards, visit oakville.ca.

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