Meet the nominees and recipients of the 2024 Stittsville Volunteer Awards

(The 2024 Stittsville Volunteer Award recipients and special guests gathered for an end of evening group photo on May 30, 2024. Photos: Stittsville Central)

The Stittsville Volunteer Awards highlight our remarkable community builders and the spirit of volunteerism. Councillor Gower welcomed all the nominees, special guests, those in attendance and Mayor Mark Sutcliffe. He welcomed Lily Bédard asking attendees to stand to sing the national anthem.

(Lily Bédard sings O Canada to begin the evening.)

The Councillor shared some opening comments, “Take a moment to think about some of the events, groups and initiatives that make Stittsville a great place to live. So many of the things that we are proud of as a community… depend on volunteers…These awards are a very special tradition in the Stittsville community. The tradition started nearly 35 years ago, way back in 1990 – when they were known as the “Goulbourn Appreciation Awards”. Since then, the awards have highlighted the contributions of so many outstanding Stittsville volunteers – and we’re fortunate to be joined tonight by several winners from previous years.”

As with every year, a guest speaker is invited to enlighten the audience with their volunteer experience. This year, Travis Blackmore of Lionhearts was the guest. Councillor Gower introduced Travis with the following comments, “Travis Blackmore made a major career shift a decade ago when he started a charity called “Lionhearts” in Kingston, and they’ve since expanded into Ottawa. The organization works with local partners to pick-up donated food, then they sort and deliver them to dozens of community agencies. Last year they helped to rescue more than $5-million worth of food. And that’s just the start of it. They do this with the help of hundreds of volunteers. I met Travis earlier this year at the “Coldest Night of the Year” and recently toured their new warehouse on Iber Road and I am just blown away by the scale of what they’re doing in our community. It’s really inspiring.”

(Travis Blackmore shared his and the creation of Lionhearts’ inspirational story with the audience.)

The evening then turned to the nominees who each received a gift bag with gifts from local businesses, including Kiddie Kobbler, Brown’s, Maverick’s, and McDonalds.

John Curry Memorial Youth of the Year Award – It is awarded to a young person who exemplifies leadership, inspires their peers and has made a significant contribution to the community through volunteer service. The award is named in honour of John Curry, who passed away in 2022 at the age of 75. John was a long-time newspaper writer and editor, history keeper, school board trustee, author, playwright, and volunteer. He served our community for nearly half a century with unwavering kindness and generosity. His work made a difference in the lives of many people in the community, and he had a particular interest in celebrating the achievements of our youth.

Avery Stone – From a young age, Avery has been involved in a number of community service initiatives and has dedicated countless hours to several causes and organizations. In grade 7 Avery organized a bake sale for a family impacted by the OC Transpo bus crash and she now regularly helps at the local Food Bank. She also assists with the younger students at Allegro Danceworks, and supports the local U6/7 girls soccer team. At South Carleton High School, Avery has mentored and encouraged younger students through the LINK Crew program. She demonstrates kindness and encouragement towards others and has a deep commitment to community service.

Nicholas Magalhaes & Aarav Pratap (nominated jointly) – Nicholas Magalhaes and Aarav Pratap are Grade 6 students at St. Stephen School who embarked on an inspiring journey through their “Giving Joy Project” this year. Moved by the urgency of addressing food insecurity, they organized a community initiative to spread positivity and support those in need. Following the guidance of the Food Bank manager, they reached out to friends and acquaintances, galvanizing support within their community. Exceeding all expectations, they collected nearly 200 items for the Food Bank, a staggering number that surpassed their initial goal of 30. This achievement provided tangible assistance and left an indelible mark on Nicholas, Aarav, and their community, demonstrating the power of youth-led initiatives.

Senior of the Year – Awarded in recognition of a senior citizen who has made a significant and long-standing contribution to our community.

Heather Ouimet – Heather is a positive, gregarious, and energetic member of the community. She has helped maintain the plants by the Amberwood sign with Karen Yabsley year after year. She is on the Pool Committee for Amberwood, ensuring community members have a voice and serving as an ambassador for this activity. She supports canvassing for Amberwood Village Residents Association to engage neighbours and get them involved in supporting Amberwood Golf and Recreation Club. Anyone who has interacted with Heather knows that she cares about her neighbours, her community and the broader Stittsville area.

Teacher of the Year – Awarded in recognition of an outstanding teacher in our community who goes above and beyond to support students and inspire the next generation of leadership in the community.

Lisa Gaudet & Elizabeth Hobbs – nominated jointly – Both Lisa and Elizabeth are instrumental in laying the foundational skills for future success as kindergarten teachers. Elizabeth teaches French and Lisa teaches English at A. Lorne Cassidy Elementary School. They are often the first staff at school and among the last ones to leave. Their hard work and dedication are shown through the safe and fun learning environment they have created for their students. Not only do they take time to communicate effectively with parents, but they also talk to their students in and outside of class in a way that makes them feel like their opinions are valued. Their hard work is evident and does not go unnoticed.

Business of the Year – Awarded to a local business that goes above and beyond in order to support the community and make it a better place in which to live.

At the Barn – Market at the Barn consistently demonstrates an exceptional commitment to volunteerism and community engagement. Owners Mandy and Dan have generously volunteered their time, resources, and expertise to support countless community events, making a significant and positive impact in Stittsville. They’ve been instrumental in organizing and contributing to a wide range of initiatives, including supporting other organizations such as the Stittsville Village Association. They’ve demonstrated excellence in leadership, and community partnership. Their dedication to social responsibility sets a shining example for businesses everywhere, inspiring others to follow in their footsteps and make meaningful contributions to our neighbourhood.

COBS Bread – Emily and the team at Cob’s Bread Kanata South support efforts to feed and care for our most vulnerable friends and neighbours every single day. Every day of operation, Emily’s Cob’s Bread store generously donates ALL their unsold bread and bakery products to the Lionhearts food recovery program. The Lionhearts volunteers then distributes the bread to a network of over 70 community partners both within Stittsville and across the city. This donation supports a variety of front-line organizations from food banks, food cupboards, schools, shelters and more programs that are feeding and caring for people. The bread from Emily’s store forms the backbone of Lionhearts’ recovery distribution efforts.

Kiddie Kobbler Stittsville – Kiddle Kobbler Stittsville and owner Joanne Rodgers have supported several fundraising initiatives in the community, including raising funds to donate a service dog, ADC Hartley, to a deserving family through Ability Dogs Canada. They have also donated hundreds of pairs of shoes to kids in need through a charity called “Shoes on Their Feet”. Joanne became known as “The Shoe Fairy”. In addition, Joanne and her team are very supportive of small local businesses, selling a variety of different products in their store.

Mandeep Basra – Mandeep is an Ottawa real estate broker who is very involved in the community. As the Public Relations Officer of India Canada Association, Mandeep facilitates open communication and collaboration, encouraging residents to engage in discussions and initiatives that benefit the community. He has organized cultural events and festivals that promote diversity and unity within the community. He goes beyond his professional responsibilities to assist and support newcomers, helping them integrate into the community and navigate the challenges of settling in a new place. He also participates in Langar for Hunger and Canadian Blood Services demonstrating his commitment to addressing social issues and supporting essential healthcare services.

Wildpine Residence – Wildpine Residence is celebrating five years in Stittsville this year and they have enriched the lives of many, from youth to seniors. The success of the residents’ Ladies Club project Fill the Purse led to the donation of 75 filled purses which helped support the women of Chrysalis House and the Western Ottawa Community Resource Centre. The staff have sheared their locks for CHEO in support of childhood cancer. Wildpine’s owners matched funds, wigs were donated for the children. Wildpine supports the local Friendship Club with time and funding. They support the Stittsville Village Association by providing event sponsorship for events everyone in the community enjoys. They also participate in the Sacred Heart High School co-op program, which provides the opportunity for youth to experience the work and care required for the elderly. This also assists the students in choosing a healthcare career while gaining relevant work experience.

Willy’s Pizza – Willys Pizza in Stittsville, under the leadership of owner Raji Issa, supports so many charity and non-profit organizations in our community, in addition to bringing amazing pizza to Stittsville Main Street. Schools, sports teams, community events, fundraising activities… the list of organizations they have supported goes on and on and on. Willy’s first opened its doors in Ottawa in 1987 and since then have expanded to many local communities, including Stittsville. They’ve been proud to be part of the Stittsville community for over 15 years.

Group of the Year – Awarded to a group of citizens who are actively working together to make a difference in the Stittsville community.

Stittsville Muslim Association – The Stittsville Muslim Association provides programs for over 200 families of Islamic faith in Stittsville, to support them and improve their sense of community in Stittsville, Ottawa and in our Canadian society. While the SMA is working to build a permanent home, its volunteers continue to support the programs currently offered, from a women’s support group to various evening education programs, to community faith celebrations and prayers on Fridays and during special events such as Ramadan. They recently collaborated to bring the Secondary International & Indigenous Languages (IIL) Program to Westwind Public School. Stittsville students can enjoy a full day of programs to learn and grow and provide support to newcomer families. The SMA was the recipient of this award in 2022.

Community Bible Church – The Community Bible Church makes a huge difference to the students at the Frederick Banting Alternate Program by providing a free, hot lunch to the entire student body, every month. Special lunches have included an Italian lunch pasta bar, Fajita Day where everyone dresses up like the old west, and Octoberfest complete with lederhosen! The Community Bible Church has been supporting Frederick Banting for almost 10 years. They have always done what they can to help students including offering gift cards to students in need, gifts for students at our Holiday Dinner, and annual monetary awards for deserving graduates. The Community Bible Church is very generous with their time, resources and effort. They do many things for the school, under the leadership of the wonderful Joy Scholtz.

The Scarborough Family – For the Scarborough’s, volunteering is a family affair. Jennifer Rowland, her husband Chad Scarborough, and their children Nova (10) and Griffin (8) have been fixtures at the Goulbourn Museum for years. Jen joined the Museum’s board of directors where she is currently Vice-Chair. She also volunteers on the Collections Working Group to review artefact donations and guide community history preservation. As a registered charity with a staff of just four full-time employees, the Goulbourn Museum relies heavily on volunteers to help with all aspects of its operation. This is instinctive for the Scarborough family, and they have come to the museum’s rescue many times. In addition to helping the museum, Jen is a Girl Guide leader and Chad is a Beaver leader. Jen, Nova, and Griffin also volunteer at the Stittsville Public Library.

The Roger Griffiths Memorial Citizen of the Year Award – Roger Griffiths was a leading citizen in our Community who served as town councillor, president of the Legion, and a volunteer firefighter. This award is presented to an individual who best exemplifies community involvement and participation.

Denise Davy – Denise has been volunteering with the Stittsville Girls Hockey Association
since its inception in 2011. Denise currently has the following roles: Registrar; Risk and Safety; Equipment Manager; Rockets Shop Merchandiser; Ontario Women’s Hockey – Association Liaison; Team Trainer-U18B; and, Team Back-Up Trainer U15B. Denise does the work of many, spending countless hours both during the hockey and in the off-season ensuring the association is running to the best of her capabilities. She has organized several events including Girls Try Hockey Day, Stittsville Girls Think Pink Hockey Tournament, and the SGHA Alumni Game.

Kirsty Edwards – Kristy has volunteered for many community-improvement initiatives. She organizes neighbours, and participates in the bi-annual Clean-up the Capital group focused on cleaning up Paul Lindsay Park. She organizes and volunteers her time with the Poole Creek garden team. She volunteers at the Parade of Lights parade for the SVA. She’s on the council of Goulbourn Middle School to ensure that the school is successfully operating for the students and teachers, as well as the Amberwood Pool committee overseeing its annual operations. And she is an active and involved board member at the Amberwood Village Recreation Association. She’s a true leader in the community and a positive inspiration for her neighbours and friends.

Mandy Hambly – Mandy Hambly’s nominator described her as “an unstoppable force” who spends countless hours serving Stittsville. Mandy arranges events, fundraisers, and little joyful moments in the community, and she’s currently president of the Stittsville Village Association. She connects with donors, handles hundreds of pages of applications/permits, ensures compliance, and takes no credit whatsoever. She works hard behind the scenes so that residents can have a great time watching fireworks or enjoying the parade. Mandy builds meaningful connections with the people in this community, involves them, and makes them feel like they matter.

Shannon Reidel – Shannon Reidel is the Chair of the School Council at Guardian Angels School. She has been involved with the council since her children were young and under her leadership the council has strengthened the school’s sense of community. She helps the neighborhood connect with each other at the end of the school year festival, and it’s this kind of community building work seems to come from Shannon’s natural ability to make connections with almost anyone. She knows how to find a bouncy castle on short notice… and clowns too! Her work as a volunteer has made the community warmer and stronger.

Phil Sweetnam – Phil Sweetnam has served our community for well over 45 years in many capacities. Here are just some of the committees and boards he has and continues to contribute to:

  • He’s been a member of the Stittsville Village Association for over 17 years, and has served as president and vice president.
  • He’s a long-standing board member with the Goulbourn Museum and has been the Treasurer for the past 9 years.
  • He’s been a member of the board of the Stittsville United Church for 44 years.
  • He’s been a member of the Goulbourn Township Historical Society for over 25 years.
  • He is a founding member of the Stittsville Business Association.
  • He has been the ‘Engineer in Residence’ to promote Math, Science, and Technology at Sacred Heart High School.
  • He volunteered for 40 years as a board member with Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority.

For the past decade Phil and his family have sponsored bursaries for students in financial need to attend university or college. Phil has been generous with his time and his expertise, contributing to so many organizations and initiatives in Stittsville.

Councillor Gower said, “Now that we’ve met all of this year’s nominees, it’s time to announce the individual recipients in each category. So many incredible volunteers – the steering committee had quite the task in making their selections this year!”

John Curry Memorial Youth of the Year Award – Avery Stone

Senior of the Year – Heather Ouimet

Teacher of the Year – Lisa Gaudet and Elizabeth Hobbs

Business of the Year – At the Barn, Mandy Faulkner and Daniel Viens

Group of the Year – The Scarborough Family

The Roger Griffiths Memorial Citizen of the Year Award – Phil Sweetnam. Phil was not available to receive his award in person. “Each year, the Griffiths family takes part in the presentation of the award in this category. Please welcome this year’s presenter, Lynn Griffiths,” said Councillor Gower.

Councillor Gower shared his closing remarks, “Thank you Lynn. We are so lucky to have the ongoing support and participation from the Griffiths family.”

“Congratulations Phil, and congrats again to all of our award nominees and recipients, and thank you for everything that you contribute to our community. Thank you to everyone who made tonight’s event possible. Merci à tous sans lesquels la soirée de ce soir n’aurait pas eu lieu. A special thank you to my team who organized tonight’s awards. Merci à mon équipe – Bob, Juliana, Catherine, Aline, Kera, and Amélie Bell who played a lead role in organizing tonight’s event.”

Mayor Sutcliffe was invited to make his closing remarks. He congratulated all of the nominees and shared the importance of volunteers to all communities.

This year’s award selections were made by the Selection Committee that is made up of local volunteers who evaluated each nomination received. The Selection Committee members were:

  • Barbara Bottriell
  • Terry Christopher
  • Elie Nasrallah
  • Dave Rooke
  • Marion Steele
  • Keith Tauro
  • Coreen Tyers

Councillor Gower extends a special thank you to some of the individuals and organizations who helped make the Stittsville Volunteer Awards possible:

  • Lynn Griffiths & the Griffiths family
  • Bengt Neathery and iSiLIVE
  • Mark Vermeer and his team at Jiffy Photo & Print
  • Barry Gray – photographer
  • Momentos Signs Awards & Promotions

Congrats to all of the award recipients! Stittsville is fortunate to have these extraordinary people in our community — all are champions.


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