Article in the Kingston Whig-Standard courtesy of:
(Photo) JONATHAN LUDLOW
United Way of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington workplace volunteers, who usually have to wake up early to attend the local charity’s Kick Off or Touchdown breakfasts, were treated to a midday meal on Tuesday to thank them for their dedication to help the United Way’s fundraising goal of $3.5 million late last year.
About 200 people attended the United Way’s workplace volunteer award luncheon at the Ramada Inn and Conference Centre.
As part of National Volunteer Week, the United Way gave out a variety of awards, including participation and achievement awards, awards for leadership, media partners, labour sector and the Spirit of the Community Award to a variety of Kingston workplaces.
Youth Diversion won the Voice of the Community Award, presented by event sponsor Bell in memory of Greg Hinton, a longtime and popular United Way Volunteer who died in 2017. Shawn Quigley, the executive director of Youth Diversion, accepted the award on behalf of the agency, which helps youth at risk or young adults overcome challenges.
Youth Diversion was given the award for spreading the word about what they do and how the United Way benefits them and other local agencies. Quigley and two graduates of the program spoke to almost 60 workplaces last fall promoting the program.
“We give up pretty much September to November for the United Way because we believe in what they do, we believe in the cause, and we need to get the message out to our local community about the need in our community,” Quigley said after receiving the award.
He said many people tell him they had no idea about the work Youth Diversion does.
“That is important for us to share with the community the need that we have and help folks dispel any stigma or myths they have,” he said.
Two graduates of the program, their guest speakers, helped promote the program as well, Quigley said.
“Emma and Alexis were just phenomenal, brave and courageous sharing their stories,” he said.
Local United Way president and CEO Bhavana Varma said the Youth Diversion presentations are about how United Way dollars have made a difference in people’s lives.
“They gave a lot of their time, passion and commitment,” she said. “That’s what the United Way is all about — people helping people — and Youth Diversion helped share the stories that make a huge difference to people.”
The Corporation of the County of Lennox and Addington and Royal Military College shared the workplace Most Improved Award.
“[The county] just had an amazing increase in their numbers, ridiculously high, and so did RMC,” Varma said.
A special recognition award was given to the City of Kingston, St. Lawrence Parks Commission and Correctional Service Canada for working together on the popular Kingston Penitentiary tours to raise $800,000 for the United Way.
Varma said the event is to thank the workplaces for their participation.
“This is about celebrating the results and we’re thanking them,” she said. “The United Way is nothing without its volunteers.”
See the complete list of Award Winners here.
United Way Event Facebook Album