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National Volunteers Week 2019

It’s National Volunteer Week 2019! This year the theme is ‘The Volunteer Factor – Lifting Communities.’

At SCIO, we can say with confidence – nobody lifts communities quite like our volunteers.

Volunteers are the heart of who we are. They are at the core of our Peer Support program, using lived experience to support others. They work in our offices, are the reason we can throw events, campaign to breakdown systemic barriers and fund raise to help us continue our life-changing work.

We’re grateful for our volunteers every single day but National Volunteer Week is an opportunity for us to celebrate and shout out a special ‘THANK YOU’ across the province to everyone that’s part of our team.

Here’s a little glimpse into the stories of three people who are being recognized this week with awards and award nominations for their commitment to our community:

Marjorie Francoz

Marjorie Francoz – Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers recipient

Marjorie is a mother of four, a licensed pilot, painter and accomplished piano teacher. She connected with SCIO while in rehabilitation at the Lyndhurst Centre in Toronto.

More than 20 years ago, Marjorie made the decision to become a peer support volunteer. Since then, she’s mentored a plethora of people, using her lived experience to guide individuals who are newly injured through their own journey.

Marjorie explained: “Adversity stinks! Don’t let anyone tell you different. But sometimes we are not given choices…I choose my goals carefully and try to find the strength and imagination to reach them.

“What sometimes seems out of the question happens because some people won’t let go of their dream. It involves very creative thinking to detour around the road blocks placed in our path. The challenge may be returning to school, choosing a career, returning to the workplace, or home as a parent or spouse. These challenges loom very large. We must devise ways to adapt our thinking to a new reality.”

During National Volunteer Week 2019, Marjorie is being awarded the Sovereign’s Medal for Volunteers in honour of all the work she’s done to support people in the SCI community…and here at SCIO, we’re bursting with pride!

Rachel PolsonRachel Polson – 2019 Legacy Award nominee

“Since 2017, Rachel has been a dedicated volunteer at SCIO’s provincial head office as the initial face and voice at reception. Volunteering over 800 hours in the last year, her commitment to our organization has been outstanding.  Rachel has proven to be flexible, reliable and continues to contribute her time with great enthusiasm. Her positive attitude has had a great impact to our clients, staff and other volunteers.

We recognize that our volunteers play a critical role in achieving our strategic goals and contribute to our key priorities. SCIO volunteers participate in a variety of activities including service delivery, special events and Board and Committee members, to name a few. We celebrate all volunteers in all areas of activity and cannot express enough how their impact has been invaluable in making a difference to the SCI Community.”

– Linda Ma, SCIO Human Resources Generalist

Thomas WynnThomas Wynn – 2019 Legacy Award nominee

“At Spinal Cord Injury Ontario we are extremely fortunate to have some amazing volunteers!  We rely on their dedication and their generosity of time to help deliver quality services.  Thomas is an exceptional example of someone who has become an integral part of our program.  He volunteers to teach clients one-on-one computer skills twice a week.  He has taken initiative to expand this program and demonstrated incredible patience and kindness towards the individuals whom he serves.   On behalf of Employment Services and all the clients who have been lucky enough to take Thomas’ computer training, thank you so much Thomas!  We really value what you do!”

– Marianne Kozinets, SCIO Employment Services

A huge thanks goes out to all of our volunteers this week – and every week. Every volunteer in our offices and programs across the province and at our events throughout the year plays a vital role in SCIO’s continued outreach, research and advocacy.

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