Michelle, who is a community member in the Greystone community, first demonstrated her commitment to Family SOS during her time volunteering in the Healthy Kidz program for 12-15 years. Due to her unwavering commitment, we couldn’t help but ask her to join our staff in 2016. Since becoming an employee, Michelle has continued to exhibit such a passion and belief in this organization. She shows up to work with a positive attitude and the readiness for any challenge that comes her way. No matter what is going on in her life, you will constantly hear her say “Family SOS comes first”. She is someone new staff, including her own manager, frequently look to for guidance around common practices and procedures of the programs as she knows them inside and out. Whether Michelle is sitting down 1-1 with a child who is having a rough time and needs a listening ear; or is grabbing the pressure washer and spending 10 hours in 30-degree weather to make sure the fence around our backyard is prepped and ready for a new coat of paint she is always the first person to jump in and lend a helping hand. Often in the summer, you will overhear Michelle organizing a huge game of track down or a dance and BBQ in the basketball court to ensure all of the children and youth in the community have something positive to engage in once program ends. During the winter months, Michelle is always quick to check if housing has shovelled and salted the areas around our facility – if they have not, she will grab a shovel and salt to complete the task before the children arrive for program as she takes pride in their safety. She devotes her time and energy to the community of Greystone and all of the programs at Family SOS – our organization truly would not be the same without her. Recently, many Syrian newcomers have moved to Greystone, which presumably would be a tough transition. Michelle took the initiative to spend quality time with some of these individuals to create an inviting environment and inspire the sense that Greystone is not just a community to them, but a place they can call home. She continues to look out for these children and youth by regularly checking in and introducing herself to their families. They are now aware that they have a long time community member who is willing to support them with whatever they need. Michelle’s efforts demonstrate an inspiration for diversity and inclusion.
2018 Halifax Bhayana Family Foundation Awards
Recognizing the extraordinary staff of United Way-funded agencies who make a difference every day.
United Way Halifax and the Bhayana Family Foundation will honour seven people committed to community change on Friday, June 8. United Way partner organizations nominated front-line staff and volunteers who offered extraordinary contributions to the community. Each recipient will receive $1,000 to be used for personal or professional development so that they may better do their work.
Jackie Rivers was nominated by Alice Evans at The Club Inclusion for the creativity and energy she brings to the organization every day. “There seems to be no limit to the effort and ingenuity that Jackie brings to her work,” Alice says. “Her expertise, attention to detail and understanding of the issues that affect people who have significant disabilities has meant that The Club Inclusion can accommodate those who others turn away.”
The awards are made possible by a generous donation from the Bhayana Family Foundation. Raksha Bhayana, a former member of United Way Toronto’s Board of Trustees, says the awards were created to shed light on the positive impact of front-line staff. “Every single day they are in the trenches of difficult and demanding jobs, facing obstacles, fighting for justice and making a real difference in their community. They give tirelessly day after day, but their efforts often go under-recognized by all of us.”