Biographies of the members of Canada’s Volunteer Awards’ National Advisory Committee

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The members of the Canada's Volunteer Awards National Advisory Committee have experience working or volunteering with the not-for-profit, voluntary and private sectors. The Committee is made up of members who:

  • are outside of the government
  • have a lot of knowledge of volunteering and the volunteer sector
  • showcase Canada's diversity

Myrna Adams

Brampton, Ontario

Myrna Adams has volunteered for over 26 years in Nova Scotia and Ontario.

Her desire to support communities in need led to her work with not-for-profits such as:

  • CARP Brampton Chapter 52 (formerly Canadian Association for Retired Persons)
  • Peel Elder Abuse Prevention Network
  • Brampton Young At Heart Seniors.

Today, Myrna is the president of Brampton Senior Citizens Council. She works with diverse groups to develop programs that improve the quality of life of seniors.

Donald Babey

Yellowknife, Northwest Territories

Donald Babey is familiar with the voluntary sector because of his work, with not-for-profit organizations. He has worked with the YWCA in cities across Western Canada as well as Dying with Dignity Canada.

He has served on the executive of many boards and committees. He now volunteers with:

  • Northern Centre for Sustainability, with Ecology North
  • Yellowknife Direct Charge Co-operative

Amanda Bent

Shediac, New Brunswick

Amanda Bent works at New Brunswick Community College and has worked in the voluntary sector for many years. She is the coordinator of the Robertson Institute for Community Leadership, and provides resources for staff and students. She helps them to build skills, knowledge and confidence through volunteering.

She has also raised funds and awareness for:

  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind, New Brunswick division
  • Canadian Cancer Society, Nova Scotia division

Volunteering has shaped Amanda's life. She credits her parents for showing her the value of volunteering and the importance of giving back.

She has volunteered as a member of the board of directors of:

  • Shediac Lions Club
  • New Brunswick Career Development Association

Nicolas Brown

Westlock, Alberta

Nicolas has been volunteering for more than 10 years. He began with the Canadian Pony Club in 2009 and has volunteered for many not-for-profits since then. Nicolas works as an accountant and volunteers as treasurer for the following boards:

  • Writers' Guild of Alberta
  • Alberta Equestrian Federation

Christopher Dougherty

Ottawa, Ontario

Christopher Dougherty has both worked and volunteered in the non-profit sector for many years. He has helped with capacity building with:

  • Volunteer Calgary (now Propellus)
  • Imagine Canada
  • United Way Calgary

His work in capacity building with various organizations has helped them to improve social outcomes in their communities. He believes that socially conscious organizations can help communities to thrive.

Amani Hitimana

Toronto, Ontario

As a newcomer to Canada, Amani Hitimana volunteered with Adam House, a refugee shelter in Toronto. He supported fellow newcomers to Canada by creating a mentoring group.

He enjoys volunteering with people with disabilities and serves on the board of directors of the Ontario Disability Employment Network. In this role, he works to improve the quality of life for people with disabilities. He believes that volunteering is the key to improving society.

He is a PhD student with the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto.

David Iwaasa

Burnaby, British Colombia

David Iwaasa has served as a volunteer for more than 5 decades. He has sat on different boards and leadership teams for many community organizations including:

  • the Japanese Community Volunteers Association
  • the Japanese Community Legacy Committee
  • B.C. Government Japanese Historic Place Names Project

David is the chair of the board of directors for the Japanese Community Volunteers Association, Tonari Gumi. They provide social services to seniors and those in need in the B.C. Lower Mainland.

Dr. Alis B. Kennedy

Woodbridge, Ontario

Alis B. Kennedy started volunteering at the age of 10 and has been volunteering for more than 50 years. Her many volunteer experiences led her to 2 of her most rewarding volunteer assignments.

She is a member of the Advisory Council to the Order of Ontario. The council reviews nominations for the Order of Ontario and recommends candidates for appointment.

She is also a member of the Ontario Honours and Awards Advisory Council, citizenship division. The council selects the people who receive the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship and the Ontario Medal for Young Volunteers.

She has volunteered in other countries. For example, she helped at a leprosy institution in Peru and served at a wildlife visitor center in South Africa.

She has received the Order of Ontario plus other medals and honours.

Daniel H. Lanteigne

Montréal, Quebec

Daniel Lanteigne started volunteering when he was 4 years old, after the amputation of his right foot. Despite his young age, he worked with the Amputee Coalition of Canada. For many years, he helped the families of new amputees as a mentor and peer trainer.

Today, he oversees a national employee volunteer program through his work in the corporate world. The program has helped him to form close connections with members of vulnerable populations.

Brenda Martinussen

Balmoral, Manitoba

Brenda Martinussen understands the value of volunteering. She took part in the creation of DASCHWorks, a training center for people with intellectual disabilities. The center is the first of its kind in Winnipeg and helps students to secure paid employment. Brenda led the launch of Nurse Next Door, a home care service in Winnipeg.

She has also volunteered for:

  • the Alzheimer Societies of Manitoba and Canada
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters of Winnipeg

Brenda also helped to revive youth baseball in Balmoral, Manitoba.

Pierre Morrissette

Victoriaville, Quebec

Pierre Morrissette has been volunteering for more than 40 years. As a teenager, he helped his father with many charitable activities. His early volunteering experiences made him aware of social inequalities.

He was the executive director of the Volunteer Bureau of Montreal from 2016 to 2019. The Bureau recruits and places volunteers with over 400 community organizations.

He is a leader and administrator with a strategic vision who brings people together. He has served on many boards and committees, such as:

  • Commerce Solidaire Québec
  • Chantier de l'économie sociale
  • Comité d'économie sociale de l'île de Montréal

Darlene Nuqingaq

Iqaluit, Nunavut

Darlene Nuqingaq's passion is music because it helps to improve mental health. She has volunteered for many years as a music teacher and director of music programs. She has taught children how to play the fiddle for more than 20 years. She helps to plan and organize the annual Iqaluit Music Camp.

She has volunteered in many different roles, such as:

  • a leader with Girl Guides of Canada
  • crisis line responder
  • board member

Sylvia Parris-Drummond

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Sylvia has more than 30 years of experience in education. She is the CEO of the Delmore "Buddy" Daye Learning Institute. Their goal is to improve the learning experience of African-Canadian communities.

Sylvia Parris-Drummond has been a volunteer for most of her life. Today, she serves her community as a board member for many organizations including:

  • FEED Nova Scotia
  • the Community Sector Council of Nova Scotia
  • YWCA Halifax

Buffy St-Amand

Calgary, Alberta

Buffy St-Amand worked for several years with Volunteer Calgary (now Propellus). She worked with Calgary businesses to establish volunteer opportunities for their employees.

She started Volunteer Calgary's Community Service Learning program. The program paired local not-for-profit organizations with a team of students and an instructor from the University of Calgary or from Mount Royal University.

She has served as a member of many boards and committees over the past 10 years, such as:

  • Calgary Foundation
  • Making Changes Employment Association of Alberta

Anne Xuan-Lan Nguyen

Montréal, Quebec

Anne Xuan-Lan Nguyen understands the importance of giving back to the community. Since 2014, she has volunteered at Camp Plein Air à Plein Cœur. Children from low-income families in Montréal can attend the free summer camp.

In 2015, she started De l'air frais pour un sourire vrai because she wanted to connect with the children during the school year. The project gives the kids a chance to take part in free sports and arts programs throughout the year.

She is a member of the Youth Council of Montréal and serves as a leader with:

  • Carrefour jeunesse-emploi Montréal Centre-Ville
  • DocTocToc mobile pediatric clinic
  • Community Health and Social Medicine Incubator
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