Volunteers from around the province who give generously of their time and talent are being recognized at the province’s 41st annual Provincial Volunteer Award Ceremony today, April 7.
Lt.-Gov. J.J. Grant, Premier Stephen McNeil and Community Services Minister Joanne Bernard attended the Halifax ceremony, which is part of National Volunteer Week.
Simonne Savoury, a Grade 12 student at Ecole Beau-Port in Arichat, is the 2015 Youth Volunteer of the Year. She said she is inspired by her grandparents’ life-long community service.
“By offering these services, I find that we create a place of belonging in the community,” said Ms. Savoury. “The supports do not need to be large, but rather it’s the small acts that make a large difference.”
Ms. Savoury is president of the student council and has worked with others to clean beaches and roadsides of trash, tutor students with learning difficulties, and fundraise for cancer patients to travel for therapy.
The ceremony celebrated about 70 volunteers nominated by their municipalities, which will also host local volunteer recognition events.
“The hands-on work of dedicated volunteers strengthens and improves our communities,” said Ms. Bernard. “I’m grateful that half of our population actively volunteers. This adds up to an impressive 74 million hours every year.”
In addition to the youth award, there was also an outstanding family volunteer honour.
The Jones family, described as “the backbone of Upper Hammonds Plains,” is the 2015 Volunteer Family of the Year. Shirley and her daughters Gina, Melvina and Sherlene, follow in a remarkable family tradition of volunteering that is 175 years old.
They are active with the Emmanuel Baptist Church, the Upper Hammonds Plains Community Development Association and the Melvin Land Tract Protection Society. Gina is the first female volunteer African Nova Scotian firefighter. The family has helped create day camps, health and wellness workshops, expanded recreation facilities, youth scholarships, mentorships and employment opportunities.
For details about award winners around the province, visit: www.recreationns.ns.ca/provincial-volunteer-awards/ .