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Volunteer Week 2022

360ºkids began over 30 years ago as two separate agencies that were developed to address the needs of the communities of York Region. The Markham Neighbourhood Support Centre was created to respond to the needs of young families with children who sought support and ways to learn about childrearing. Youth Housing Markham provided safe and supportive housing for youth who could no longer live at home. 360ºkids now serves over 3,500 youth, each year from every municipality in York and this number has grown significantly since our move to the Richmond Hill Hub operating the youth hub and offering even more essential services to youth.

What started off in 2019 as a general interest in supporting 360°kids through her family’s school, Ann Gomez started her journey is learning all about the youth homelessness issue in York Region. As a mom of teens, she couldn’t imagine knowing that there were so many youth that were in need of support and housing in our community and as a parent, how could she step up and help. From there, Ann took it upon herself to get involved and be a part of the solution by dedicating her time to our 360°kids Resource Development committee. With the goal of shaping and forming creative and innovative solutions in fundraising and community outreach, Ann and the team had to work through unique obstacles brought on by the pandemic.

Only a year later Ann took on the challenge to chair the Resource Development committee and pushed hard to raise needed and necessary funds for our local at-risk and homeless youth. She challenged all of us to dream big, set ambitious goals and work hard to do more for those in our community who needed our support. Due to her tireless efforts, we at 360°kids have broken records with our signature fundraising event the 360°Experience and she has created a corporate outreach committee to focus in on making our York Region businesses even more involved at the local level and creating solutions for vulnerable youth. Ann is dedicated, determined and passionate in everything she does and deserves to be highlighted during Volunteer Appreciation Week. Thank you, Ann, for everything you do to make our community better.

Since 1982, Blue Door, a not-for-profit registered charitable agency governed by a volunteer Board of Directors, has been an integral part of our community providing emergency housing for the homeless population of York Region. As the region has grown, so too have the services of our organization. Initiated as a shelter for single men, Blue Door has expanded to include emergency housing programs for families and youth.

Ralph Dunham is a real community champion who stepped forward during the Covid 19 pandemic to organize space for operating the Out of the Cold shelter. Due to the sudden onset of the pandemic, many seasonal shelters were forced to close creating a critical shortage of beds for those experiencing homelessness. The Mosaic Interfaith Out of the Cold program was at serious risk of closing as many faith based community centres were forced to halt services. Ralph was instrumental in answering Mosaic’s call for help for emergency space in March 2020. He rallied his congregation at Ebenezer United Church to support Mosaic’s request for community space, and immediately helped Mosaic implement an emergency shelter with 20 beds. Due to Ralph’s leadership and dedication to serving the community, the Out of the Cold program was able to sustain emergency beds and meals through the pandemic.

Ralph has also stepped forward many times to serve the community in many ways. In addition to supporting the emergency shelter at Ebenezer United Church, Ralph has contributed his time to support Mosaic’s fundraising efforts. Ralph joined our Coldest Night of the Year walkathon committee in 2022. He diligently attended meetings and outreached to the community to help raise over $6,620 for the shelters. Ralph continues to offer his time to serve on local boards and is always available to assist with the Out of the Cold program. His dedication to serve those in need is done in silence and without the expectation for recognition – but Ralph certainly needs to be recognized for being a true community champion!

Big Brothers of York became incorporated in December 1970 with the mandate of providing boys from absent father homes with mentors by matching them with Big Brothers. Today, Big Brothers Big Sisters of York (BBBSY) provides various mentoring programs and free activities to children and youth throughout York Region and Bradford West Gwillimbury. These positive mentoring programs help children and youth build the confidence to achieve more, assisting them in reaching their full potential and grow into adults who will contribute positively to society.

For approximately 3 years, our agency has had the pleasure of Carter Osborne being a volunteer for us in both our group and 1:1 programs. Carter has been consistent, reliable, and a great role model for the children and youth he has mentored. His ability to connect with children/youth in a way that builds a developmental relationship is valued by staff, mentees and caregivers.

Back in May of 2020, Carter was matched in the Big Brother program and has recently started a second match with a youth. Since March of 2021, Carter has run multiple Virtual Game On! Programs. Within all of these experiences, it is evident that his commitment to the program and children/youth is unwavering.


CAYR* Community Connections was originally founded as the AIDS Committee of York Region in 1993 and formally incorporated as a registered charitable organization in 1996. Our mission and vision is to create safe, confidential, and inclusive spaces and services in York Region where people can access dignified support and meaningfully engage in self-determined pathways to well-being. We envision an informed, healthy, stigma-free and compassionate community.

Desiree Kerr has done a lot of work to help keep this agency moving forward. She has shown leadership, is very compassionate, and takes initiative in getting things done. She is very understanding of CAYR’s work and how to interact with others.

Launched in 1980, CHATS is a not-for-profit charitable organization that enhances the health, wellness, and independence of more than 8,300 York Region and South Simcoe seniors and caregivers each year. As a not-for-profit charitable organization, CHATS depends on the generosity of valued donors. Although CHATS is partially funded by the Central Local Health Integration Network, Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, and the United Way of Toronto & York Region.

Anni Schwarzenberg started volunteering with CHATS in November of 2000 and has volunteered in several different capacities over the years, including Transportation, Meals on Wheels in Sutton and the Georgina and the Sutton and Keswick Wellness programs. She has touched the lives of countless seniors, allowing them to participate in community-based activities as well as to maintain their own health and nutrition by helping get them to medical appointments and bringing them their Meals on Wheels. Anni’s husband, Joe is also a long-time volunteer with CHATS as he started volunteering in 2003, joining Anni in some of her roles. Anni is an avid animal lover and in addition to the time she gives to CHATS, has enjoyed rescuing many dogs over the years. Anni has dedicated the last 22 years to helping others in any way she can. She’s one of a kind and we’re so grateful for all she does.


In April 2014, Evergreen Hospice of Markham Stouffville and Hospice Thornhill, organizations that had both served their communities for more than 25 years, joined to become one stronger agency serving all three communities: Markham, Stouffville and Thornhill. Evergreen provides community based supportive programs to individuals and their families in Markham, Stouffville, and Thornhill, who are living with life-threatening illness or coping with the death of a loved one. Services are provided free of charge and are specifically designed to meet the needs of children, teens, and adults.

Jodi Cole has been a client volunteer with Evergreen for over 9 years. As a client volunteer and a therapeutic touch practitioner, she has emotionally, socially, and spiritually supported our clients who have life threatening illnesses, as well as those who are grieving. When Covid restrictions prevented us from visiting clients in person, Jodi was instrumental in helping us move to an online virtual support environment. She virtually co-facilitates groups, providing vital feedback and support to staff and other volunteers. Her suggestions for programming and ideas for information topics have allowed us to connect and support our clients and our communities through this isolating time. We are so grateful for everything that she does for us and for our communities.

Hope House Community Hospice (formerly Hospice King-Aurora-Richmond Hill) is a volunteer-driven community agency offering specialized services and support to those diagnosed with life-threatening illness, their family and caregivers, and those who are bereaved. The generous support of our donors and community partners allow us to offer all of our programs at no cost.

Susan Pratt is an amazing volunteer! She co facilitates a weekly group for bereaved clients, has acted as a 1:1 companion for bereaved clients, and is an active member of the Volunteer Advisory Team (a team that exists to act as a liaison between the Coordinator of Volunteers and the Hope House team of volunteers). Susan is compassionate, empathetic and understanding in her interactions with our bereaved clients. In addition, she is always the first to volunteer to assist with any necessary administrative tasks on short notice. In all of her volunteer roles Susan remains calm and focused on the situation at hand regardless of how urgent or challenging. Over the last 4 years the staff at Hope House have discovered what a great asset Susan is to our team and appreciate the dedication and support she willingly offers to our clients.

Plaque Presentation - Home House

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD Canada) is a charitable, grassroots organization that is committed to stopping impaired driving and supporting the victims of this violent crime.

Each and every year, thousands of Canadians are killed or injured in impaired driving crashes. Driving under the influence of alcohol or other drugs is a terrible crime that touches all our lives. It is an irresponsible, dangerous and intolerable act. MADD Canada strives to offers support services to victims/survivors, heighten awareness about the dangers of alcohol and/or drug-impaired driving, and to save lives and prevent injuries on our roads.

At the heart of MADD Canada are our volunteers; they include not only mothers, but fathers, friends, business professionals, experts in the anti-impaired driving field and concerned citizens who want to make a difference in the fight against impaired driving.

Jennifer Neville Lake is a woman who was thrust into a world of grief and tragedy by an impaired driver on Sept. 27, 2015, when her three children and her father were killed and her mother and grandmother were injured as their vehicle travelled through Vaughan. Jennifer has been a strong advocate in MADD’s fight against impaired driving, as well as the fight for victims of impaired driving. Jennifer’s work for changes to the Canadian Victims Bill of Rights has shown the need for more compassion to victims. She often participates in MADD York Region fundraising and awareness events. Jennifer’s social media messaging is always powerful and thought provoking on how victims are continuously re-victimized as a result of the crime that destroys lives.

For the past almost 50 years, the mission of Participation House, Markham is to be a leader in enhancing the quality of life of individuals with disabilities through a continuum of services designed to reflect individualized approaches, community involvement and a respect for human dignity. Operating several group homes designed to provide various levels of care from assisted independent living to fully supported care, Participation Markham strives to be flexible, accountable, innovative and compassionate in responding to the needs of the individuals and their families supported by their organization.

Katrine Raymond has been an asset for the past few months, being involved with the students who are a part of the school online program and working one to one with them. Additionally, she has been pouring in some one to one time with a few of our residents by creating stimulating and fun activities and socializing with them, which is essential. During the March Break while the school online program was taking a break, Katrine continued to work one to one with our residents and was part of a group who planned some March Break activities for them.

Katrine brings such calmness, excitement, patience and joy when spending and engaging with the residents and her heart displays a genuine desire to support and bring forth a true sense of quality of life.

Shine Through The Rain does many things but all in the service of one goal. That goal is to help those who are affected by life threatening illnesses. Whether it’s through services or funds, we provide guidance, support, and financial aid to those in need. We help adults, children, and families find the silver lining. When things seem gloomy and you’re being rained on, we’re here to help you shine through it.

Yassi Seifi is hardworking and always says “yes” to a task. She has a terrific CAN DO attitude. She works till the job is done and never complains!

Since the inception of Southlake Foundation in 1980, more than $213 million dollars has been raised in support of Southlake Regional Health Centre. Working with members of the community, hundreds of volunteers, the Southlake Family and our incredible donors, Southlake Foundation will continue to support life-saving medical equipment, infrastructure upgrades and expansions, patient programs and staff education, all for the goal of providing leading-edge care for patients and families, close to home.

Louanne McGrory is President of Shiseido Canada and serves as a Philanthropy Cabinet Member for Southlake Foundation. She brings her strong connections with the communities served by the hospital to inspire support and investment in health care, close to home. She is an extraordinary volunteer who has been impacted by the hospital personally and wants to contribute to the hospital because it has given so much to her. As former Chair and now Board Member of Look Good Feel Good, she brought the organization to the Stronach Regional Cancer Centre at Southlake to help women with cancer take steps to look good, feel better and get closer to the person they were before they began fighting this debilitating disease. Her work directly supports patient care and improves the quality of their lives in our communities.

We have been providing services to seniors for over 50 years in this community. Our organization was founded by a group of very dedicated volunteers in 1967 who sought to improve the services available to seniors in the Unionville community and to build a long-term care home. To this day we are a non-profit organization supported by a volunteer Board of Directors. many of whom work and live nearby.

Lorraine Chipperfield has leveraged her gift of time to encourage and engage others to volunteer on fundraising committees, growing the connection to our mission and ultimately helping our older adult/senior community feel valued in their contributions As a program volunteer, she has embraced not only delivering programs to our most vulnerable but she has also building relationships with the staff and families which has made our organization stronger. As a fundraising volunteer, she has reached out to the greater community to build support for our fundraisers and shared her knowledge and expertise with new volunteer recruits.

Yellow Brick House provides life-saving services and prevention programs to meet the diverse needs of individuals, families, and communities impacted by violence. With the support of our amazing community members like you, our dedicated staff provide life-saving services for women and children escaping domestic violence in York Region.

Lisa Toma is more than just a volunteer with Yellow Brick House – she is a survivor of domestic violence and an advocate for those currently experiencing violence and abuse.

Lisa has been a proud supporter of Yellow Brick House since she lost her mother to domestic violence in 2002. Lisa chose to be an ambassador for the organization that supported her mother and the rest of her family because when her world was turned upside down, it was the most painful, confusing, traumatizing and difficult time of her life. Lisa found strength in serving others and using her story and personal pain as a resource to save lives and prevent more deaths.

Lisa believes deeply in the importance of giving women and children who are or have experienced violence a voice, and she practices what she preaches. Lisa openly shares her survivor story at events, such as Yellow Brick House’s 2021 Virtual Gala, and on her personal social media platforms. Her public presence has inspired others to give back.

Through her community awareness, Lisa has raised over $20,000 in support of Yellow Brick House to date. “That is why we are all here isn’t it?,” Lisa answered when asked why she has dedicated so much time to raising awareness, “To help people, to serve people, to give what we have to those who don’t, whether it is material things like shelter, food, money, or we can even just give courage, strength, inspiration. People want to help and we need to reach the ones who do so that we can help save lives.”

No one deserves to live every single day in fear; life is way too short to live like that. And so long as that fact remains true, Lisa will continue to shout her story from the rooftops and inspire her community to save the lives of women and children impacted by violence.

York Pride Fest was launched in February 2007 by the York Region 2SLGBTQ+ Community Outreach Project, a four-year Trillium funded initiative to develop and support the delivery of services to meet the needs of 2SLGBTQ+ persons and their families in York Region.
Since that time, York Pride Fest has operated as a coalition of local 2SLGBTQ+ relevant service providers and community volunteers, working together to organize and progressively expand the region’s annual pride festival.

When Dave Williams moved from the Blackburn, UK, to York Region he became a volunteer in 2007 with York Pride formerly known at Pride York Region. During this time Dave took on many roles within the volunteer-led team. Areas such as website administration, community outreach and event planning. Now 15 years later Dave is now one of the Directors on the board, a festival coordinator, and the longest active volunteer within the team.

His dedication and hard work have ensured that the festival has had accurate and up to date financial data, an operational website with a built-in TeamSpace portal in which he created himself to better connect and manage volunteers.

He has gone above and beyond for the amount of love and attention he has invested into York Pride. His cheeky personality drives him to always have an opinion for all the nitty gritty details during every meeting, he really just wants what’s best for the organization.

Dave always does his best to troubleshoot and help out. He has been an absolute pillar in ensuring the longevity of the festival. We are excited to celebrate Dave, Williams, 15th year with York Pride. Dave has seen this organization grow from a 100-person event now the whooping 25,000 attendees seen in 2018 in Newmarket. He has been and always will be a rock to the York Pride Fam! With much Love from the YP – Team Go Dave Go!